A conglomerate of environmental and health-advocacy groups are suing the FDA over the use of two antibiotics used in animal feed to treat livestock. The group alleges that the FDA knew years ago that loading up livestock full of penicillin and tetracyclines (the 2 antibiotics in question) was causing bacteria to become resistant to drugs that humans rely upon to fight infections — thus leading to the onset of numerous ‘superbugs’ and mutated viruses. The group’s assertion goes on to say that the FDA did nothing to stop this, despite knowing about it.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen, and Union of Concerned Scientists all filed their suit Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The groups outlined the excessive use of antibiotics in livestock nationwide, and the potential dangers that go along with it. “Approximately 80% of all antibiotics used in the United States today are used in livestock,” the group explained in the suit. “Most of these drugs are not used to treat disease. Instead, they are given to healthy animals in their feed or water, both to promote faster growth and to prevent infections.”
The FDA noted in a documented released last year that there was a proposal to ban both antibiotics in 1977, but did not due to a lack of evidence “to show that drug-resistant bacteria of animal origin were commonly transmitted to humans and caused and caused serious illness.”