Report: Drugs in Farm Feed, Despite Risk

A new analysis of government studies on animal feed uncovers widespread use of antibiotics, some of which pose risks to human health.

By | January 28, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, BOB NICHOLS, USDA NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICEOf 30 antibiotics added to animal feed, 18 pose risks to humans by potentially exposing people to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in foods. That’s the conclusion of research conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently analyzed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The FDA “is an agency that has repeatedly found, since the 1970s, that these drugs pose a risk to human health, but it has not done anything meaningful with those conclusions,” Avinash Kar, a lawyer for NRDC, told The New York Times.

By requests through the Freedom of Information Act, the NRDC obtained documents of FDA reviews of antibiotics in animal feed dated 2001 to 2010. According to a press release from the NRDC: “None of the 30 antibiotics would likely be approved as new additives for livestock use if submitted under current FDA guidelines, because drug makers have not submitted sufficient information to establish their safety.”

The Washington Post reported that the FDA has been planning to withdraw approval for some animal antibiotics since 1977. “But for decades, the agency took no action, even as the NRDC sued in recent years, trying to force it to follow through.”

Last year, the FDA asked pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily change the indications for their antibiotic products so that farmers would use them only in sick animals, rather than to bulk them up. “The FDA is confident that its current strategy to protect the effectiveness of medically important antimicrobials, including penicillins and tetracyclines, is the most efficient and effective way to change the use of these products in animal agriculture,” the agency said today in a statement to reporters.

According to Wired’s Superbug, “the obvious important point made by this report is that compounds are being used in agriculture about which federally contracted scientists—usually a conservative bunch—have raised repeated concerns. But what is also important. . . is precisely that those concerns were raised over years.”

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo


Avatar of: Brian Foster

Brian Foster

Posts: 1

January 30, 2014

although antibiotic resistance is a serious issue, some consumers can also experience an anaphylactic reaction to some of these antibiotics, a few examples are the penicillins and nitrofurans

Popular Now

  1. A Newly Identified Species Represents Its Own Eukaryotic Lineage
  2. Telomere Length and Childhood Stress Don’t Always Correlate
  3. Research Links Gut Health to Neurodegeneration
    The Nutshell Research Links Gut Health to Neurodegeneration

    Rodent studies presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting this week tie pathologies in the gastrointestinal tract or microbiome composition with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

  4. Running on Empty
    Features Running on Empty

    Regularly taking breaks from eating—for hours or days—can trigger changes both expected, such as in metabolic dynamics and inflammation, and surprising, as in immune system function and cancer progression.