Foodborne infections and bacterial antibiotic resistance garner tremendous attention in the public health arena. So it should come as no surprise that a decades-long debate is heating up over whether antibiotic-resistant bacteria from food animals pose a threat to humans. Concerned that you just can't keep antibiotic resistance genes down on the farm, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine has moved to impose regulations to help curb the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in animals.

Stuart Levy Stuart Levy
Although most antibiotic resistance problems in humans are likely due to human, rather than animal, drug use, "We do know that in foodborne bacteria, the major force driving drug resistance in infections is drug use on the farm," said David Bell of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "So for that reason, and because resistance is becoming a problem in animal medicine as well, we're interested in...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?