On Wednesday, April 11, 2012, USA Today reported that the Food and Drug Administration urged food producers across the U.S. to stop the use of antibiotics for livestock. The reason being a consistent rise in bacteria called "superbugs" which are antibiotic-resistant in nature. Among these antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria is Staphylococcus. The concern is these bacteria pass on to humans through the livestock.
This urging came not long after a federal judge ruling mandated the FDA take action against the non-medical use of antibiotics for food production. They insist there is no connection between these two events.
Despite this marked rise in these "superbugs", they are not mandating a complete halt of antibiotic use. Instead, they are asking that farmers voluntarily end their use on livestock. However, they have made one stipulation which is not voluntary. They will need food producers to get any antibiotics from a veterinarian and only for medical purposes. Prior to this, farmers were able to get antibiotics without any prescription making them readily available.
Although the FDA is taking a step in what seems a good direction, many question whether a voluntary approach is the best course. The FDA, surely anticipating such opinions, has said that to put a full stop on the use of these antibiotics would leave the issue tangled in court battles for decades. They believe by asking for a voluntary stop they will find more positive results and speed up the process. However, this leaves many hoping farmers will coÃ¶perate for the sake of our health and well-being.