The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knew the U.S. meat industry had a drug problem.
There is decades of evidence that as chickens, pigs and cows grow faster and antibiotics are widely used to survive on overcrowded factory farms, bacteria mutate and become resistant to antibiotics. have been accumulated. By 2009, US agribusiness was buying two-thirds of his so-called medically important antibiotics (antibiotics used in human medicine). This is making these precious life-saving drugs less effective.
Once easily treatable human infections such as sepsis, urinary tract infections, and tuberculosis have become more difficult or even impossible to treat over time. The basic building blocks of modern medicine began to crumble. But it wasn’t until the mid-2010s that the FDA finally took the basic step of requiring farmers to obtain veterinary prescriptions for antibiotics and banning the use of antibiotics to accelerate animal growth.
These two measures alone caused sales of medically important veterinary antibiotics to plummet by 42% from 2015 to 2017, almost to a sufficient level. Now, in a worrying reversal, sales of antibiotics for livestock are up again by 7% from 2017 to 2021, according to a new FDA report. The poultry industry, which has been a leader in reducing antibiotic use on poultry farms, purchased 12% more antibiotics in 2021 than it did in 2020.
In 2019, more than 1.2 million people died from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including 35,000 Americans, from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This far exceeds the number of HIV/AIDS or malaria deaths.