California Bans Unnecessary Use of Human Antibiotics in Farm Animals

California recently decided that it was done waiting for Federal action on animal antibiotic legislation and became the first state to ban the use of unnecessary antibiotics in farm animals. Beginning in 2018, restaurants that receive meat from California will be able advertise that their meat is free from human antibiotics.

What prompted the move? Over the past eight years, hundreds of people in California become ill after succumbing to antibiotic resistant Superbugs linked to the use of human antibiotics in farm animals.

What caused the problem? For decades, livestock producers have been using antibiotics to speed the growth of their animals and to control disease in their herds. But there’s a nasty side effect. Since no antibiotic kills every bacteria, natural selection gives rise to “Superbugs” that are antibiotic resistant. When humans get infected with these Superbugs, treatment options can be severely limited.

Although the cattle and chicken industries have been proponents of minimizing the use of unnecessary antibiotics in farm animals, the California law is the first of its kind to ban the practice.

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