Posted by | March 24, 2012 23:32 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

For years, the evidence that the massive use of antibiotic feed on farms is a potential public health disaster has been mounting.  The Obama administration took a few tentative steps toward curbing their use.  Things will move faster after a court order this week.

A federal magistrate judge on Thursday ordered the Obama administration to alert drug makers that the government may soon ban the common agricultural use of popular antibiotics in animals because the practice may encourage the proliferation of dangerous infections and imperil public health. . .

The judge’s order may accelerate the F.D.A.’s incremental efforts to restrict common agricultural practices that are viewed by microbiologists and other medical researchers as leading to the growth of bacteria that are resistant to common antibiotic treatments, a development that many doctors say has cost thousands of lives.

The feed is used to help the animals grow.  But the result is the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs across the food chain.  It’s taken far too long to deal with this problem.

By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.