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Food News: Restriction on Antibiotic Use in Livestock

After reading Michael Pollan's books — especially The Omnivore's Dilemma — and watching the new film Food Inc., I was pleased to read the news that the Obama administration is looking to restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock.

The principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs testified that feeding antibiotics to livestock to encourage rapid growth must stop, and that farmers should only be able to use the drugs with the supervision of a veterinarian. The reason behind this recommendation is that the rampant use of antibiotics has strongly influenced the development of bacteria immune to many treatments, rendering common antibiotics useless in fighting infections. This point of view has long been accepted by the medical community. According to estimates by the Union of Concerned Scientists, chickens, pigs, and cattle receive 70 percent of antibiotics used in the United States. While the American Medical Association backs the proposed restriction, it is no surprise that meat producers are opposed to it.

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