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Crucial Antibiotics Still Used on US Farms Despite Public Health Fears

Tests at meat packing plants show no reduction in drugs, a year after new rules to clamp down on overuse

Antibiotics crucial to human medicine are still being used in “unacceptable” quantities on US livestock farms, despite rules brought in last year to curb their use and combat the spread of deadly superbugs.

Tests on thousands of meat samples by the US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) show that powerful antibiotics classified as “critically important” to human health are still being used. The widespread use of such drugs on livestock is one of the key drivers of antibiotic resistance, a growing public health crisis.

Regulations brought in by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2017 banned the use of antibiotics on livestock without a prescription from a vet and made it illegal to use the drugs solely to make animals fatter, which for years had been common practice on industrial farms.

The new rules aimed to ensure antibiotics were only used when medically necessary.

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