Guidelines Issued on Antibiotic Use to Farm Animals
June 5, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday issued a set of guidelines for veterinarians who will, as of next year, be responsible for prescribing certain antibiotics for animals destined for the dinner plate - marking a key step in ending the practice of distributing those drugs over the counter.

The FDA is taking steps to limit only antibiotics used for both animals and humans. Drugs used exclusively for animals pose little to no risk of creating resistance to medically important drugs for humans, said Steve Roach, an expert on food safety for the Food Animal Concerns Trust.

Under the FDA's plan, which goes into effect in December 2016, farmers and ranchers will need to get a prescription for antibiotics considered medically important to humans. They also will be prevented from using the drugs to promote quicker growth in animals, restricting usage to treating and preventing diseases.