Special Report

Antibiotics in Foods: Everything You Need to Know

Source: Courtesy of Applegate Farms

Public pressure leads to changes in antibiotics use

Sales of antibiotic-free meat grew by almost 29% every year between 2011 and 2015.

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Veterinary Feed Directive

Federal Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rules established by the FDA in 2017 require farmers to have a written prescription when administering medically-important antibiotics to their livestock. The VFD rules do not apply to antibiotics that are not considered medically important.

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Voluntary re-labelling

The 2017 FDA restrictions on the use of medically important antibiotics in animal feed were enacted by requesting that drug manufacturers voluntarily relabel their antibiotics, removing growth or feed efficiency from the approved uses, effectively making the use of antibiotics for those purposes illegal.

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Millions of pounds used on livestock

In 2010, the FDA published its first ever report estimating the amount of antibiotics sold for use in food-producing livestock. The estimate: nearly 29 million pounds.

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2018 violations shed light on unsafe levels of antibiotics

According to the FDA’s 2018 Residue Sample Results, the top three antibiotics found in animal food product samples whose residue levels violated federal standards were ceftiofur, penicillin, and sulfadimethoxine. Of the three, only Penicillin is used in humans.