The Food and Drug Administration releases animal antibiotic sales data annually. The report for 2016 shows decreases in two key categories: sales for livestock and poultry, and medically important antibiotics. Although the latest report shows a reduction, we need to focus on using antibiotics responsibly, which in agriculture means to use less while preserving the ability to responsibly use antibiotics when needed.
The USDA’s glossary of meat and poultry labeling terms has 20 items from “basted or self-basted” to “young turkey” and includes “natural,” “no hormones” and “organic.” What do they all mean? Here’s some background and perspective on labels in general and one – no antibiotics added – in particular. Other resources are available as well that will help you the next time you’re at the supermarket shopping for meat.
I am deeply troubled by the increasing call to eliminate the use of antibiotics to prevent disease in animals. As a veterinarian focused on the health of animals, I can say without question that if we lose the ability to use antibiotics for prevention purposes, more animals will die.