FDA: US livestock fed 28.7M lbs of antibiotics in 2009
A whopping 28.7 million pounds of antibiotics were sold or distributed in 2009 to be used on "food-producing animals," according to the FDA.
If you still eat “conventional” meat — you know, the factory-farmed, antibiotics-fed stuff — you’re eating a whole lot of antibiotics. For the first time, the FDA revealed a whole lot of antibiotics are given to U.S. livestock — 28.7 million pounds a year (PDF), to be exact.
Why’s this worrying? Well, hopefully you already know that it’s a bad idea to take antibiotics that aren’t specifically prescribed for you. The FDA’s been cautioning us not to do that for years. In fact, the FDA went so far as to urge meat producers to use less antibiotics earlier this year, “amid rising concern that extensive use in animals contributes to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria afflicting humans,” according to the LA Times.
But until now, we didn’t know how bad the antibiotic problem was — because meat producers didn’t have to report how much antibiotics they were using. It was only in 2008 when Congress mandated meat producers reveal this information. That’s why we now have the 28.7 million pounds figure for 2009.