Harvest Public Media
9:52 am
Thu December 12, 2013

FDA Pushing To Limit Livestock Antibiotics

Bob and Sandy Young's hog barn near Buckhart, Ill.
Bob and Sandy Young's hog barn near Buckhart, Ill.
Credit Bill Wheelhouse / Harvest Public Media

The FDA wants to phase out antibiotics in meat.

Regulators released a broad plan Wednesday, designed to prevent meat producers from using drugs that are also used to treat sick humans. That means some changes Midwest farmers and ranchers will have to get used to.

It’s an increasing public health concern that consumption of drug-treated meat may be making humans less responsive to antibioticsperhaps even spawning drug-resistant “super bugs.”

The new FDA guidelines ask pharmaceutical companies to stop marketing drugs humans need as helping pigs and cattle grow faster.  

Regulators also introduced a proposal that would require veterinarians to have more oversight on drugs administered at the farm.

Jim Lowe practices veterinary medicine in ten states. He told Harvest Public Media when it comes to the reporting requirements the FDA is still working out with stakeholders, the "the devil's in the details", but believes many producers and veterinarians are already on board with the changes.

“To purchase an antibiotic and include it in the feed, there’s going to need to be some documentation and formal relationship between veterinarian, client and patient,” Lowe said. “So if there’s no veterinary involvement today, that needs to happen.”

The government is making its guidelines “voluntary,” but says companies may face regulatory action if they don’t follow suit.

More: FDA puts news limits on antibiotics in livestock