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The Human Downside Of Fewer Animal Antibiotics

The lack of development of new antibiotics to treat infectious diseases in animals could leave a void of alternatives should resistant bacteria make current antibiotics useless, says the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). In its latest Expert Report, "Antimicrobial Resistance: Implications for the Food System," released earlier this week, IFT urges government agencies and other key decision-makers to "create a climate beneficial to the development of new veterinary drugs targeting infectious diseases in the management of animals for food."

"Efforts to develop new antibiotics are being abandoned in favor of drugs combating non-infectious diseases," says Michael P. Doyle, PhD, chairman of the IFT expert panel, microbiologist and food safety expert. "The result on animal health is few or no new antibiotics-even as resistance threatens to make the current generation of veterinary antibiotics useless."

The report says antibiotic treatments used in the production of animals for food can benefit public health by reducing from within the livestock the pathogens that cause human illness. However, as strains of bacteria become resistant to such treatments, the development of new antibiotics isn't keeping pace.

"Maintaining the effectiveness of antibiotics in food production is critical," Doyle says.
See the new report and others at