With federal efforts to reduce the amount of antibiotics

With federal efforts to reduce the amount of antibiotics

Among the highlighted efforts are laws passed in California and Maryland that prohibit food producers from regularly using medically important antibiotics for disease prevention in their herds and flocks. These laws, set to take effect in 2018, go a step beyond the efforts of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has implemented reforms to end the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in food-producing animals but still allows for their use in disease prevention. While state laws might represent the best path for large-scale reform of antibiotic use in food-producing animals, municipal governments, school districts, universities, and hospitals are making their voices heard by adopting policies that require the purchase of meat raised with fewer or no antibiotics. These lower-profile actions, the authors of the report say, are important efforts in the fight to preserve the efficacy of antibiotics.

"Given the inadequacies in existing federal policy, and no sign that major reforms are forthcoming, state and local actions to reduce animal antibiotic use is critical," the authors write. "Fortunately, advocates across the country are finding ways around the federal government to influence how antibiotics are used in livestock production."

According to the most recent estimates, somewhere between 70% and 80% of medically important antibiotics sold in the United States are for use in food-producing animals. Because of the links between the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in both veterinary and human health, most public health and infectious disease experts agree that efforts to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance must include policies to reduce this amount.

Thomas Gremillion, co-author of the report and director of CFA's Food Policy Institute, said that these efforts are important because the nature of the problem requires action at all levels. But ultimately, he says, stronger policies at the federal level will be needed.

Source: Consumer Federation of America