FDA to curb antibiotic use on farms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Many of the antibiotics that are used to treat animals, are also used to treat people when they’re sick. The FDA is saying that the overuse of these antibiotics could cause the germs in our bodies to become resistant to medication.

“I think the more antibiotics you take, the more resistant bacteria can become to those antibiotics, so it makes sense to me to stop doctoring beef with antibiotics if they’re the same ones for humans,” says Alan Richardson, who eats meat like millions of other Americans. He’s a fan of the FDA’s new plan. “I believe it’s probably a good thing to ween antibiotics out of beef.”

“I certainly agree that we don’t need the antibiotics in our food supply,” says Mike McGonigle, who owns McGonigle’s Market, a business known in the area for selling quality meat.

“The thing that you have to keep in mind is that cattle are very susceptible to infection, so antibiotic use in and of itself is not all bad,” Mike says.

According to the FDA, many of the antibiotics used in animals are also used to treat people when they get sick. The FDA says illnesses causes by bacteria are more likely to be fatal if overuse has made the germs resistant to medication.

“Routine antibiotic use without regard to an as needed basis I think is damaging,” says McGonigle.

While McGonigle understands the FDA’s decision to phase antibiotics out, he says he does have some concerns.

“My concern would be the quality, and the safety of the meat, if an animal does have infection and does make it into the slaughter-house,” he said. “There has to be some definite oversight and monitoring of that situation.”

He says its hard to say what kind of long-term effect this plan will have, but it could cause some immediate changes.

“Not necessarily going to affect the quality in the long run, but it is going to affect possibly the cost of the beef,” McGonigle said.

The FDA will now begin working to address how farmers are using these drugs.

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