Curbing Antibiotic Use in Food and Agriculture

Action: Tackle excessive non-human use in food and agriculture.
Read our principles related to Non-Human Use

Literature & Resources

Global Antimicrobial Use in the Livestock Sector
OECD Working Party on Agricultural Policies and Markets | 2015

Widespread antimicrobial use in human medicine and agriculture to the emergence of resistant pathogens that circulate among humans, animals, food, and the environment. Unchecked, global use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture will increase 67% by 2030. Countries such as Denmark and Sweden, which have better hygiene and nutrition conditions for animal husbandry, have not experienced negative effects on productivity following antimicrobial bans. The report suggests that restricting subtherapeutic antimicrobial animal use would have disparate economic impacts, affecting countries differently based on their agricultural production systems.

The interface between people and animals: Part 4 of Antibiotic resistance – the need for global solutions
 Greko | Lancet Infectious Diseases | 2013 (pg 12-15)

Local and global partnerships among all sectors are needed to improve health systems, especially to phase out growth promotion and routine preventive uses of antimicrobials intended to increase productivity. The EU banned antimicrobials for growth promotion in 2006, while in many other countries, several antibiotic growth promoters remain legal and available over the counter. Various pathways likely transfer resistant bacteria from animals to humans, including exposure through food, spread through international trade, and run-off from fertilized land or sewage. Resistance reduces antibiotic effectiveness in not only animals, but also humans. This public health concern warrants stewardship that acknowledges the links among human health, animal health and environmental health.

Germination | National Geographic Phenomena

Germination is a blog that explores public health, global health, and food production and policy. In the blog, Maryn McKenna discusses antibiotic resistance, including numerous articles on antibiotics in the food and agriculture system. Selected stories include a study that suggests drug-resistant staph A poses a work hazard to farm workers, as reflected in the higher likelihood for people working with swine to carry and be infected by drug-resistant staph. She also discusses the FDA’s finding that antibiotic use in US animals increaseddespite restrictions on antibiotics in human medicine. McKenna additionally writes about alerts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that drug-resistant foodborne illness is spreading in the US.