Monday, May 30, 2011

0 Superbug Suit: Groups Sue FDA Over Risky Use of Human Antibiotics in Animal Feed

Approximately 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to healthy farm animals at low doses to promote faster growth and compensate for unsanitary living conditions -- a practice that has increased over the past 60 years despite evidence that it breeds antibiotic-resistant bacteria dangerous to humans. The antibiotics, mixed into feed or water for pigs, cows, chicken, and turkeys, are used at levels too low to treat disease, leaving surviving bacteria stronger and resistant to medical treatment.

FDA concluded in 1977 that feeding animals low-doses of certain antibiotics used in human medicine -- namely, penicillin and tetracyclines -- could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria capable of infecting people. However, despite this conclusion and laws requiring that the agency act on its findings, FDA failed to take any action to protect human health.

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