Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Antibiotic use increased

Farmers bought more antibiotics than ever in 2014, according to a report from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

That was despite the issuance of government guidelines in 2013 calling on farmers, feed companies and drug manufacturers to reduce the use of antibiotics, especially at levels below what’s needed to treat diseases and infections.

Low-level use is widespread as a method to improve feed efficiency and speed growth.

The Food and Drug Administration’s report says it expects antibiotic sales will decline for 2015 and 2016 because drug companies say they will no longer sell antibiotics as growth promotants and because a number of major restaurant chains, such as Burger King and Tim Horton’s, have announced deadlines beyond which they will not buy meat and poultry raised with the assistance of antibiotics that are important for human medicine.

Critics note that the drug companies can continue to sell antibiotics for use at low doses as a measure to prevent disease. That means their use could continue without much change.

It's not what they say, but what they do, that counts.

The FDA guidelines that were first issued in 2013 passed final ruling in June, 2015, and became law on Jan. 1.