Last month, a process started 35 years ago was rekindled by a judge’s ruling on antibiotics and farming. Judge Theodore H. Katz, called for an end to the use of penicillin and tetracycline in farm animals.
Antibiotics are drugs used to keep livestock healthy, while speeding up their growth in crowded living spaces. Each year 17,000 deaths in the U.S. alone are caused by superbugs that are immune to antibiotics.
In April, the FDA created three documents that outlined ways for farmers, veterinarians, and animal producers to work together to reduce the use of antibiotics without a prescription, and to use themonly when needed. Although the usage of antibiotics isn't banned completely, the FDA is making it harder for commercial farmers to use them on their livestock.
FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. stated, “The new strategy will ensure farmers and veterinarians can care for animals while ensuring the medicines people need remain safe and effective. We are also reaching out to animal producers who operate on a smaller scale or in remote locations to help ensure the drugs they need to protect the health of their animals are still available.”
This is another step in phasing out antibiotics completely to prevent the emergence of new diseases and ensure safer food products.