Should antibiotics be banned in animal feed?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that livestock producers cut back on low-dose antibiotics routinely added to the feed of chickens, pigs, and beef cattle. These antibiotics promote faster growth, but this dangerous practice also promotes the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that infect about 1.4 million people each year and kill at least 63,000 in North America.

The FDA's new stand is a start, but is it tough enough? I think an outright ban (the kind the European Union's had in place since the 1990s) is a better way to at least partially close the door on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and start eating clean. True, feeding animals antibiotics isn't the only reason for the rise of superbugs (overuse of antibiotics in humans, such as using antibiotics to treat a sinus infection caused by a virus, is part of the problem), but antibiotics fed to livestock are significant troublemakers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.