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00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d38650002Issues of food, fuel, and field affecting Illinois.

Harvest Blog: FDA Pushing To Limit Livestock Antibiotics

Bob and Sandy Young's hog barn near Buckhart, Ill. (File: Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS)

The FDA wants to phase out antibiotics in meat.

Regulators released a broad plan Wednesday, designed to prevent meat producers from using drugs that are also used to treat sick humans. That means some changes Midwest farmers and ranchers will have to get used to.

It’s an increasing public health concern that consumption of drug-treated meat may be making humansless responsive to antibiotics - perhaps even spawning drug-resistant “super bugs.”

The new FDA guidelines ask pharmaceutical companies to stop marketing drugs humans need as helping pigs and cattle grow faster.  

More: Drug companies accept FDA plan to phase out some animal antibiotic uses

Regulators also introduced a proposal that would require veterinarians to have more oversight on drugs administered at the farm.

Jim Lowe of Albers, Illinois, practices veterinary medicine in ten states. He told our Harvest Desk when it comes to the reporting requirements the FDA is still working out with stakeholders, the "the devil's in the details", but believes many producers and veterinarians are already on board with the changes.

“To purchase an antibiotic and include it in the feed, there’s going to need to be some documentation and formal relationship between veterinarian, client and patient,” Lowe said. “So if there’s no veterinary involvement today, that needs to happen.”

The government is making its guidelines “voluntary,” but says companies may face regulatory action if they don’t follow suit.

More: FDA puts news limits on antibiotics in livestock

Peter has a diverse background in public, independent and commercial media production. Beginning in 2011, Peter served as reporter and “Morning Edition” host for WUIS. He completed his work at WUIS in 2014. Prior to his start in public radio, he covered the Illinois legislature for NBC affiliate WANDTV-17 and helped launch Phenom Features, a non-profit apprenticeship film studio. Peter hails from Oswego, Ill., where he grew up watching WTTW-11/PBS.
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