FDA Limits Usage of Antibiotics in Livestock After Activist Outcry
After serious health campaigning led to a United States judge ordering the FDA to remove approval for antibiotic use on common animal feed products, the FDA is now limiting the usage of antibiotics among the food supply. However, the FDA is not completely revoking approval for the antibiotics, only placing an order for farmers to stop using the drugs solely to help animals grow — what’s more, the farmers are given another 3 years before any real legal action goes into effect. The initial proposal was introduced back in 1977, and the FDA has stalled for decades to give a final answer.
That means that antibiotics used to ‘treat’ animal diseases, or even ‘prevent’ future diseases, will be perfectly fine under these guidelines. The result may have to do with the livestock corporate juggernauts, who refused to admit that the mass drugging of animals with superbug-breeding antibiotics posed any real threat to the public. Many consumer activists, such as Laura Rogers from the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, fear that these new guidelines are so broad that they mean virtually nothing.
“If you were to ask me what’s the biggest gap, it’s that they’ve left way too much wiggle room [leeway] when it comes to preventative uses,” said Rogers. “That’s going to have to be shored up [i.e., made more specific] in order for this action to be meaningful.”
Around 80% of all antibiotics used in the United States today are pumped into livestock, according to health and environmental advocacy groups in their lawsuit against the FDA regarding excessive antibiotic use. It is these antibiotics that are contributing to the spread of ‘super-bugs’, such as heavily resistant tuberculosis. In fact, the resistant tuberculosis strains — a direct result of excess antibiotic consumption — are so serious that scientists are calling it the new ‘white plague’. Even members of the World Health Organization’s ‘Stop TB Partnership’ are outraged over the man-made disease progression, with member Lucica Ditiu stating that the drug-resistant TB “is a totally man-made disease”.
Outside of super viruses, antibiotics have also been linked to mental illness as a result of compromised gut health.