09 March 1999
USDA to investigate animal antibiotics

THE US Food and Drug Administration (USDA) is to investigate animal antibiotics following growing fears about the possible dangers the drugs pose to human health.

In a move to prevent the development of strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, the USDA is considering forcing manufacturers to introduce new tests.

In the USA, unlike Europe, antibiotics used as medicines to treat human beings are sometimes fed to animals as growth promoters.

But some US scientists are now claiming that feeding the antibiotics to animals at low levels over a long time fosters resistance that can be passed on to human beings.

They want the USA to follow the example of Europe and ban the use of antibiotics in animal feed.