Antibiotic Use in Industrial Food Animal Production

Video Notes:

Antibiotics are used for the treatment in humans and animal agriculture along with crop and ethanol production.

There are a lot of feed additives used for animals.

In 2010 the FDA used 7.3 pounds of antibiotics for the treatment in humans and 28.8 pounds of non-therapeutic and therapeutic animal use.

The food and drug administration uses antimicrobial for the treatment of animals, prevention of any disease, and the production of growth promotion (speed growth) and feed conversion (increase food)

Antibiotic Resistance:

4 mechanisms

Selection for resistance (left with bacteria that resist the antibiotic), bacterial transformation, bacterial conjugation, ROS can be DNA-reactive and produce point mutations.

Accumulation of mutations in bacteria have been shown to induce the dev. Of mutant strains that demonstrate resistance to multiple drugs.

The “resistome”= bacteria non-pathogenic can harbor genes that can refer resistance when shared with others.

Bacteria that have mutations allowing drug resistance can share chemical signals with drug susceptible drug.

Most antibiotic in IFAP are administered through feed or water, influenced by feed quality control, animal herd dynamics, drug absorption.

Over administration of drug can led to drug residues in food animal products and clinical toxicity in animals.

Under administration can lead to genetic mutations that allow resistance to emerge

Intermittent drug in which variability can lead to over and or under administration that can then lead to antimicrobial selection pressure and or disease treatment failure

Exposure to resistant bacteria problems. Transport trucks can spread bacteria to the community and processing plant, workers and low hygiene can carry bacteria, animal manure can harbor chemical hazards.

Resistance infections respond poorly to one or more antibiotics and increase mortality risks. There was estimated to be 19,000 deaths from HAI in 2001.

Hospital stays are longer and more costly for resistant infections. They have increase by 14 days and the average cost is around $45,920

Multiple estimate of societal cost of resistant infections, as high as $30 billion per year

Denmark passed legislation to resist use of non-therapeutic antimicrobials in swine production. Decrease use in poultry.

Indicators of animal health have showed a beneficial effect, weight gain.

Total antibiotics consumption has declined more than 50 percent

Reduction in resistance in animal pathogens, indicator bacteria and zoonotic microorganisms.

Policies in US:

Animal Drug User Free Act- provides FDA with full time employees to watch over


While watching the video, I was very surprised at the amount of antibiotics that are used for animals. 28.8 pounds is a lot especially compared to the amount used for humans which was 7.3. Even though this was measured in 2010, I bet the amounts have increased since then. Antibiotics aren’t always a bad thing, but when you’re consuming the animal that has been given pounds and pounds of it that can’t be good for your health. I believe that even though the FDA thinks what they’re doing is right, may not be the safest choice for their consumers. They should probably start within the actual farm itself and try to get things cleaner with less bacterial risks. If the farms and workers are well taken care of then the risk of farm animals getting sick should decline. With this decline, maybe the FDA wouldn’t have to worry so much about getting the animals antibiotics for prevention purposes.

One thought on “Antibiotic Use in Industrial Food Animal Production

  • September 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Good notes. Purdue just announced no more “human antibiotics” fed its chickens. Wonder if this is related to the Animal Drug User Free Act-


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