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FDA Plans to Cut Antibiotics in Food Animals

Voluntary Plan Gives Animal Industry 3 Years to Stop Antibiotic Overuse in Food Animals

What's Wrong With How Antibiotics Are Given to Food Animals?

Most of the antibiotics given to food animals are put in their feed or water. This almost always is done on a herd-wide or flock-wide basis. It makes animals put on weight faster and makes them gain more weight with less food.

When antibiotics are used this way, the dose the animals get isn't enough to kill off all the bacteria inside them. Over time, the bacteria become more and more drug resistant. When such superbugs infect humans, standard treatments don't cure the infection.

There are some researchers, such as an expert panel of the Institute of Food Technologists, who say the odds are low that any of these bugs will find their way into humans. But in testimony before Congress, the USDA, the FDA, and the CDC all said that the use of antibiotics in food animals leads to infections with drug-resistant bacteria in humans.

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