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Editorial: FDA plan is a good one on antibiotics

The Food and Drug Administration took steps Wednesday to phase out the use of some antibiotics in animals processed for meat.

This is a good move that is supported by experts in the health and agriculture industries.

This is a growing public health problem.

A FDA report earlier this year reported the antibiotic bacteria could be found in the majority of meat products: 81 percent of all raw ground turkey, 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of chicken.

The threat of antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans is real as antibiotic-resistant superbugs are on the rise. More than 2 million people contract drug-resistant infections every year in the U.S., resulting in 23,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the FDA’s proposal, the U.S. will begin working to address how animal production farmers utilize antibiotics to enhance animals’ growth or reduce the amount of feed they have to use.

The FDA is also calling on animal pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs important for treating human infection as an approved use for animal production. This would basicaly stop the practice of using such drugs for growth enhancement. The plan would give the drug companies three years to comply.

The plan would still allow farmers to use animal antibiotics for therapeutic uses under veterinary oversight to treat, prevent or control disease.

The meat industry is already adjusting to the growing consumer demand for antibioticfree products. Such products are now available in supermarkets and some restaurant chains no longer use meat treated with growth-promoting antibiotics.

Many animal production groups, including the National Pork Producers Council, are supporting the FDA’s guidance plan on this issue.

This move is the right one at the right time for the betterment of all in the U.S.