Sales of antibiotics for food animals increased by 23% between 2009 and 2014.

  • As previously covered on this blog, the use of antibiotics to promote growth or feed efficiency in food-producing animals has been the subject of significant scrutiny.  FDA has taken action in this area by requesting voluntary industry efforts to reduce antibiotic use, by proposing to expand data collection in this area, and by issuing a final rule requiring veterinary supervision of antibiotic use in food-producing animals.  California recently became the first state in the U.S. to ban the routine use of antibiotics in livestock.  Major food suppliers and restaurants also have committed to eliminating antibiotics from their supply chains.
  • FDA has now released a report showing that sales of medically important antibiotics used in food-producing animals in the United States increased by 23% between 2009 and 2014.  Tetracycline sales represented the largest volume of domestic sales during this time frame.
  • The data that FDA reported indicate sales information, which may not directly correlate with the use of these drugs.  Early media reports suggest that not all interested stakeholders grasp this distinction, and these data may serve as fodder for criticism that drug use is increasing in spite of recent multi-faceted efforts to curb the routine administration of antibiotics in livestock rearing.