Antibiotics, Down On The Farm


A federal judge has ordered the Food & Drug Administration to stop antibiotics from being used to fatten up food-producing animals, unless such practice can be proven safe. The decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed last May by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other advocacy groups that believe excessive use of antibiotics in farm animals contributes to a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thereby threatening human health.

The lawsuit alleged that FDA acted illegally by not following through with its 1977 proposal to ban the use of penicillin and the tetracycline class of antibiotics for promoting growth in livestock. At that time, FDA said such uses could not be shown to be safe. But ?FDA never held hearings or took any further action on the proposed withdrawals,? U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz wrote in his March 22 decision.