US farmers have slashed the use of antibiotics in meat and milk by a third, new figures from the Food and Drug Administration reveal.
The amount of antibiotics sold to farmers dropped by almost three million kilograms between 2016 and 2017, according to the new data.
In 2017, the FDA banned the use of antibiotics to make animals grow quicker, a practice known as growth promotion. The new rules meant the drugs, formerly available over the counter, could only be obtained with a veterinarian’s order.
The new data is the first indication of the success of the ban in reducing antibiotic use in US agriculture, which is considered key to stemming the growing threat of superbugs which can infect humans.
The overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and in livestock has accelerated the rise of resistant bacteria, commonly known as superbugs. They can cause life-threatening infections as they are resistant to the drugs normally used to kill them. More than 153,000 people in the US died of superbug infections in 2010, a recent study found.
The European Union banned using antibiotics as growth promoters in 2001. But the practice was still legal in the US – one of the biggest producers of meat in the world – until more than a decade and a half later. READ MORE AT…