For many years antibiotics have been used freely in animal feed, not only for medical purposes but also as a growth stimulant.
However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) believes that the overuse of common antibiotics in animal feed is endangering human health. This overuse may minimize the effectiveness of these drugs in humans and, as predicted by the FDA, has created superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics.
In the past the FDA began proceedings to ban certain antibiotics however, the process was never completed. Now a federal judge has ordered that the FDA withdraw approval for the use of common antibiotics, such as penicillin and tetracycline (which are often used to promote growth in animals), in animal feed.
Non-therapeutic use of antibiotics will be withdrawn unless the companies that manufacture the drugs are able to prove that their use is safe. If these companies are able to provide evidence suggesting that the use of antibiotics for these purposes is safe then the ban will not be placed.
This ruling will not affect the use of antibiotics in animal feed for disease prevention.
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