America’s public research universities are leading an initiative to address world hunger and malnutrition. The Challenge of Change Commission outlined seven challenges for public universities to address to help achieve global food and nutrition security. Food-system veterinarian Leah Dorman believes the responsible use of antibiotics in food production can be part of the solution.
There’s strong evidence antibiotics used in livestock and poultry are not driving antibiotic resistance in humans, that responsible use of antibiotics minimizes agriculture’s environmental impact, and unsafe antibiotic residue in food from animals is uncommon. While science is the foundation of those findings, and decision-making processes people use to form opinions are complex, it can be discouraging when groups or individuals choose to support science only when it agrees with issues upon which they’ve made up their minds.
As a veterinarian, I need to be able to answer questions about antibiotic use in farm animals in an informed and evidence-based way. Based on scientific research and practical experience, I’m completely comfortable telling people that using antibiotics responsibly makes meat, milk and eggs safer with the added benefit of lower food costs.