Antibiotics sold for use by the livestock industry, including in animal feed, increased by 16% in four years (2009-12). This is according to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) latest annual report on sales and distribution data on antibiotics approved for use in food-producing animals. The report shows that 61% of the antibiotics sold for use in food-producing and non-food producing animals were medically important.
The Animal Health Institute noted a recent study by Harvard University’s School of Public Health on the risk to human health of antibiotics use in animal agriculture found the “proportion of antibiotics by weight used in agriculture as opposed to human medicine it does not follow that the majority of selective pressure on human pathogens let alone the majority of human health impact of antibiotic resistance results from agriculture uses.” The FDA’s new policy for antibiotics important to human medicine, which is currently being implemented, phases out the use of antibiotics for growth promotion and implements Veterinary Feed Directives. Animal health companies are required to file this data with the FDA every year.