While people need a doctor’s prescription to take antibiotics, anyone can buy antibiotics for cows, chickens, and pigs over the counter. This is one of the reasons why more than 70% of antibiotics are sold for use on livestock rather than people.
This matters, because the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals breeds deadly drug-resistant bacteria. The CDC reported that these germs are responsible for at least 2 million human illnesses and 23,000 deaths every year. Many experts are worried that our overuse of antibiotics is signaling the end of antibiotics as we know it (check out this fascinating article by Maryn McKenna for more).
It’s time to stop using antibiotics to boost meat production!
Just before the new year, the FDA proposed a new policy that would require veterinarians to oversee the use of all antibiotics in animal feed and water. This proposal is a step in the right direction, but it contains some critical loopholes that could allow antibiotic overuse to continue.
As a chef, you have the power to influence the conversation on antibiotics. The FDA and the White House are listening to you, and they want your comments.