15-Jun-15 5:00 AM  CST

Obama Administration Takes Fight Against Over Use of Antibiotics to Nation's Farms

The over use of antibiotics is not a new fight, but it is one that has gained a great deal of attention lately and the White House is joining the fight in full force. This week the Obama Administration urged both public and private sectors to fight against antibiotic use in livestock.

Not only has the miss use and over use of antibiotics been blamed for the ever increasing number of antibiotic resistant bacteria, but also the common practice of injecting livestock and poultry with antibiotics and hormones. According to an article put out by Princeton University, approximately 80% of all antibiotics produced are used for injection in livestock and poultry. Many times the antibiotics are given as a way to prevent the animals from disease that may arise from crowded and unsanitary conditions often associated with stockyards or poultry farms. The problem with this is that the over use of antibiotics in the farm animals we commonly consume are perpetuating greater strains of bacteria that nearly impossible to treat with the antibiotics currently on the US market.

The FDA announced last week that by the year 2016 the practice of using antibiotics in livestock and poultry feed as well as injection is to be discontinued. Antibiotics, which also promote growth in the animal, are only to be given to animals that require them due to infection or illness and must be given only under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Additionally, the Obama administration signed into law this week a mandate that requires all federally run cafeterias and food venders to serve only antibiotic responsible or free meat and poultry. This move by the Obama Administration is seen as a way to use the extensive power of the Executive office to encourage a movement of antibiotic free meats and poultry in the US.

According to White House statistics, antibiotic resistant super bugs caused more than 2 million illnesses and 23, 000 deaths last year in the US. In addition to the FDA regulations and the Obama mandates, the White House also hosted a forum on antibiotic free food sources inviting more than 150 vendors, which included, the American Medical Association, AARP, Cargill, AstraZeneca, McDonalds, Kaiser Permanente, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, WebMD, Proctor &Gamble, and Wal-Mart.

The central message here is that it is not too late to turn the tide of antibiotic resistance, but clearly this is not just a governmental issue. Responsible use of antibiotics will take an effort from nation as a whole. Without cooperation from every aspect and industry involved in safe antibiotic use, antibiotic super bugs will continue their course to domination.


Lowes, R., (2015), “Obama Takes Antibiotic Fight From Pharmacy To Farm”, WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/news/20150603/obama-antibiotic-pharmacy-farm, retrieved, 5, June 2015

Princeton University, (2015), “Antibiotics In Your Meat:What’s The Big Deal?” , http://www.princeton.edu/~greening/downloads/antibiotic_table_tent1.pdf, retrieved, 5 June 2015

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Sandra Andrews
(717) 360-1159
Source: Sandy Andrews  

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