Even as more companies announce that they will reduce the use of antibiotics in meat production, the argument about the use of antibiotics in animals continues. One issue is that a lot of information simply isn’t available. The primary source about on-farm antibiotic use is an annual report that is produced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That report “simply shows the total amount of antibiotics, broken down by antibiotic class, that are sold by drug companies for use on the nation’s farms.” There is no data about how (or on what kind of farms) those drugs are used.
This has led to some discrepancies between what is reported by the FDA and what is reported by companies. And it raises the question: what’s going on?
Dan Charles (@nprDanCharles) writes for NPR’s The Salt:
The FDA wants to find out. Under a new proposal, drug companies would have to disclose whether the antibiotics they sell are intended for use in cattle, pigs, chickens or turkeys.
Even the FDA, however, admitted that this new information would not answer the most important question: whether, and where, the use of antibiotics by farmers is increasing the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant microbes that could threaten humans.
An important read.
What Tyson’s big antibiotic announcement might really mean