While antibiotics are an essential part of the health care we receive, the vast majority of antimicrobials are used for industrial animal agriculture -- around four times the amount used in human medicine.
As our lawmakers in the Senate discuss the fees that companies will pay to help the FDA expedite drug reviews, they should also require those companies to provide information that helps the agency protect people from drug-resistant superbugs.
Force-feeding prescription drugs to healthy people, just to make them grow faster, would be considered ludicrous by any doctor. Possibly even criminal. But the FDA allows factory farms to essentially to just that.
Knowing Secretary Tom Vilsack's passion for helping the people who live in rural communities, there is no larger issue for him to focus his attention on than protecting those communities from antibiotic-resistant bacteria sourced from food animals.
It's hard to shock me, but when I read the report on Friday that almost half of the meat and poultry we're buying at our local grocery stores is contaminated with Staph bacteria, I had to let out a scream of frustration.