The Food and Drug Administration has reported that the amount of antibiotics being given to farm animals in the United States is at an all-time high, increasing by 16 percent between 2009 and 2012, according to The Atlantic.
Nearly 70 percent of the antibiotics commonly used on animals are considered “medically important” for humans, a further 80 percent of which are being used to ensure more rapid growth and disease prevention for farm animals.
As a result of this antibiotic overuse, bugs have become increasingly resilient, including “strains of drug-resistant tuberculosis and gonorrhea are on the rise,” all over the world.
The FDA itself announced in 2013 that it would implement a “guidance document that explains how animal pharmaceutical companies can work with the agency to voluntarily remove growth enhancement and feed efficiency indications from the approved uses of their medically important antimicrobial drug products,” but failed to call for the mandatory end of usage of any of these antibiotics.
In an op-ed response, food writer and former New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl called the measures “toothless” and a “blatant failure on food.”
Last month, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a new task force to battle drug-resistant infections and develop new antibiotics by 2020, which seems to be the only option left.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization warmed that, “a post-antibiotic era, far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century."
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.