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Groups Sue FDA to Stop Addition of Antibiotics in Livestock Feed

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Several environmental and public health groups filed suit against the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday to try to force the government to stop farmers from routinely adding antibiotics to livestock feed to help animals grow faster.

The groups say widespread agricultural antibiotic use and the FDA's allowance of the practice are compounding a public health crisis: the increasing prevalence of "superbugs" that infect people and do not respond to antibiotics.

"The longer we use these drugs, the less effective the arsenal becomes," said Margaret Mellon, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which filed the complaint in federal court with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Animals Concern Trust and Public Citizen.

About 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are consumed by farm animals.

Groups including the American Medical Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America have called on the FDA to ban feeding antibiotics to healthy animals.