Factory farming requires antibiotics, and bacterial resistance develops in animals just as it does in humans. From Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. at childrenshealthdefense.org:
Data released Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reveal an increase in the sales of medically important antibiotics for use in the production of chicken, beef and pork. An investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Guardian names retailers and restaurant chains sourcing beef containing harmful antibiotics.
Data released Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveal a significant increase in the sales of medically important antibiotics for use in the production of chicken, beef and pork for human consumption.
The revelation comes seven years after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its National Action Plan for combating antimicrobial resistance, and two years after the plan was updated.
The FDA report also follows the release of a joint investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and The Guardian revealing that several major retailers and restaurant chains — including McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Walmart — are sourcing beef that originates from farms using a specific category of antibiotics linked to impacts on human health and the spread of “superbugs.”
TBIJ’s investigation, published Nov. 21, drew from “unpublished U.S. government records,” revealing that beef produced for meat packing firms such as Cargill, Green Bay and JBS came from industrial farms using antibiotics categorized as the “highest-priority critically important” (HP-CIA) to human health.
The FDA report revealed that, despite an overall 1% decrease in antibiotic sales to the livestock industry in 2021 as compared to 2020, there were increases in antibiotic sales for use in the production of chicken (12%), pork (3%) and beef (1%).
Coupled with data showing that in 2021, chicken and pork production actually decreased compared to 2020, the results show “more antibiotics were sold for use in fewer animals,” according to Civil Eats and data from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).