State News
6:50 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Phasing out antibiotics for farm animal growth

Federal regulators on Wednesday said 25 pharmaceutical companies have agreed to phase out the use of antibiotics used to promote growth in farm animals.  IPR'S Peter Gray has more.

Citing public health concerns, the Food and Drug Administration late last year asked pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs important for treating human infection as acceptable for use in animal production.

The concern is that antibiotics provided to animals are making OUR bodies more vulnerable to so-called "superbug" infections.

Douglas Miller of Elanco, one of the pharmaceutical providers that have agreed to the new restrictions, says antibiotics are just "one more tool" in his company's "toolbox":

"…and if we do all the other things correctly, such as on-farm hygiene, nutrition, enzymes, vaccination programs.  If we do all those things correctly, we will minimize the need for antibiotics.  But we will never get to a point where we won't need them, because will always be present."

The FDA says farmers will need to rely more on veterinarians to determine when antibiotics should be used on their animals.

Harvest Public Media is a collaboration of public radio stations in the Midwest, including WUIS in Springfield.  They focus of farming, food and fuel production.  You can find more at HarvestPublicMedia.org