The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental advocacy group, has compiled a report on the safety of antibiotics used by American farmers to treat food animals. The report reflects the finding of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists that 18 out of 30 antibiotics being given to the animals pose a “high risk” to human beings, by exposing them to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the food supply. In addition, all 30 of the antibiotics studied, when used for non-therapeutic purposes (such as increasing an animal’s size), expose humans to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and violate the FDA’s own safety guidelines on non-therapeutic use.
The NRDC claims that FDA efforts to “phase out” the administration of non-therapeutic drugs to food animals are not swift enough to protect the public. In December 2013, the FDA stated that it is taking action to promote “the judicious use of important antimicrobials to protect public health, while ensuring sick and at-risk animals receive the therapy they need.”