FDA Tightens Rules On Antibiotics In Livestock Feed

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Photo: VFD Paul Morley
Paul Morley D.V.M. teaches epidemiology and infection control at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Fort Collins. His current research includes using genomic studies to evaluate antibiotic resistance in cattle.

Feedlots, ranchers and even 4-H kids sometimes give their animals feed and water laced with antibiotics. This practice is known to help promote growth, as well as prevent disease. But there’s growing concern about the increase in antibiotic-resistant germs. So a federal regulation known as the Veterinary Feed Directive has been updated. It says that starting January 1 this kind of medicated feed and water can only be used under a veterinarian's supervision.

Dr. Paul Morley does infectious disease research at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He says the rule will increase accountability in the animal feed industry and the food-animal production system.

The directive only affects medications that come from drug classes that have therapeutic use in human medicine; drugs used only on animals will not be affected.

Morley spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.