Farm drugs ban mooted

Ruling commits FDA to reassess ban on antibiotics for health farm animals

source: New Scientist vol 213 no 2858, March 31st 2012 p6

The National Resources Defense Council has won a court ruling in New York which forces the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reassess usage of antibiotics for healthy farm animals. A ban on non-therapeutic usage of tetracycline and penicillin was first put forward in 1977. These drugs account for some 50% of antibiotics used in livestock farming in 2010. Livestock farming in turn accounts for 80% of total antibiotic usage in the USA. Meanwhile, a team led by Lance Price from the National Genomics Research Institute, Arizona, has shown that a Staphylococcus aureus strain arising in humans in 2003 was picked up by livestock and became resistant to two antibiotic types before reinfecting humans as a new S. aureus strain, which had become more difficult to treat.