Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FDA takes steps to phase out antibiotics in meat

WASHINGTON — Citing a potential threat to public health, the Food and Drug Administration is taking steps toward phasing out the use of some antibiotics in animals processed for meat.

Many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their animals antibiotics regularly to ensure that they are healthy and to make the animals grow faster. Now, the agency has announced that it will ask pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs important for treating human infection as acceptable for that growth promotion in animals.

If the companies sign on — and one major company has already said it will — using those antibiotics to promote growth in animals would be illegal. Prescriptions would be required to use the drugs for animal illnesses.

The FDA has been debating how to address the issue of antibiotics in meat for several years as consumers have become more aware of the issue and are clamoring for antibiotic-free meat. McDonald's, among other companies, has moved to limit the drugs in its meat, pushing many animal producers to go along.

The FDA move is designed to limit antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans. Repeated exposure to antibiotics can lead germs to become resistant to a drug so that it is no longer effective in treating a particular illness.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health problem. In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released sobering estimates that more than 23,000 people a year are dying from drug-resistant infections.

The biggest risk is from germs spread in hospitals, and it's not clear how much of the problem is related to the use of drugs in meat. Still, the FDA says this is one step toward decreasing resistance.

"We need to be selective about the drugs we use in animals and when we use them," said William Flynn of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "Antimicrobial resistance may not be completely preventable, but we need to do what we can to slow it down."

The new guidance will give the companies three years to comply.

Turkeys raised without antibiotics can be seen at a farm in Lebanon, Pa.,  in 2012. More consumers are asking for antibiotic-free meat. 

Associated Press

Turkeys raised without antibiotics can be seen at a farm in Lebanon, Pa., in 2012. More consumers are asking for antibiotic-free meat. 

FDA takes steps to phase out antibiotics in meat 12/11/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 9:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  2. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  3. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  4. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  5. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.