WIUM Tristates Public Radio

No Antibiotics for Pigs and Cattle

Dec 12, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration wants to phase out antibiotics in meat.

Regulators released a broad plan Wednesday, Dec. 11, designed to prevent meat producers from using drugs that are also used to treat sick humans. That means some changes Midwest farmers and ranchers will have to get used to.

Credit Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

It’s an increasing public health concern that consumption of drug-treated meat may be making humans less responsive to antibiotics - perhaps even spawning drug-resistant “super bugs.”

The new FDA guidelines ask pharmaceutical companies to stop marketing drugs humans need to simply help pigs and cattle grow faster.  

Regulators also introduced a proposal that would require veterinarians to have more oversight on drugs administered at the farm.

Jim Lowe practices veterinary medicine in ten states. He told Harvest Public Media when it comes to the reporting requirements the FDA is still working out with stakeholders, the “the devil's in the details,” but believes producers and veterinarians are already on board with the changes.

The government is making its guidelines “voluntary,” but says companies might face regulatory action if they don’t follow suit.