Easing livestock off drugs

FDA tightens guidelines on antibiotic use in livestock

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11 introduced a three-year plan to curb the use of some antibiotics commonly fed to livestock.

Currently, antibiotics are typically available to farmers and ranchers over the counter, and are used in the feed and water of cattle, pigs and poultry to help them gain weight quickly for market, a practice that has long raised concerns of antibiotic-resistant diseases spreading in humans, according to SFGate.com. The FDA’s Veterinary Feed Directive will allow the livestock industry to continue using antibiotics—as long as they’re not ones designed for humans.

Additionally, pharmaceutical companies that sell antibiotics for livestock have been asked to voluntarily change drug labels over the next 90 days to say the products can be sold to treat sick animals only under a veterinarian’s supervision.