In 2011, more antibiotics were sold for use in meat and poultry production than ever before—at least four-fifths of all antibiotics used in the US—according to a new report by Pew Charitable Trusts.
The report, which is based on new data released by the Food and Drug Administration, shows that antibiotics used in the big-ag industry to make livestock grow faster and resist bacteria in unsanitary living conditions, broke all previous records—a practice which is drastically contributing to the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs that render many antibiotic treatments for humans useless, the report points out.
In 2011, 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in the U.S. for meat and poultry.
Writing for Mother Jones, Tom Philpott adds:
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of voluntary "guidelines" designed to nudge the meat industry to curb its antibiotics habit. Ever since, the agency has been mulling whether and how to implement the new program. Meanwhile, the meat industry has been merrily gorging away on antibiotics—and churning out meat rife with antibiotic-resistant pathogens—if the latest data from the FDA itself is any indication. [...]
Takeaway: While the FDA dithers with voluntary approaches to regulation, the meat industry is feasting on antibiotics and sending out product tainted with antibiotic-resistant bugs.