A federal judge said the Food and Drug Administration had done “shockingly little” to address the human health risks of antibiotic use in animal feed. The agency was ordered to reconsider two petitions seeking restrictions on the practice.
The ruling is the second recent setback for the FDA in this long-standing concern; theoveruse of antibiotics in animal feed is endangering human health by creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This concern goes as far back as 1972, when a federal scientific task force found that the use of low-level doses of antibiotics in animal feed favored the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Such bacteria had been found on meat sold to the public thus the prevalence of such bacteria in humans had increased.
Critics of antibiotics in animal feed called the ruling a victory.