Animal Antimicrobial Data Misrepresented By UCS

The FDA released the 2009 report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals. The reports lists all the antimicrobial drugs and drug classes approved for use in food producing animals, plus 2009 sales and distribution data reported by drug class. The report does not offer any analysis, observation, or subjective opinion on the effects of antimicrobials in animals.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) issued a news release using the data to support its assertion that antimicrobial use in food animals is too widespread and poses risks to human health by undermining the effectiveness of the drugs.
While UCS claimed the amount of microbials used for farm animals was about eight times more than the three million pound doctors prescribed that year for human medical purposes, [Dave] Warner [National Pork Producers Council] pointed out the FDA data referred to pounds sold, not pounds used, so such comparison data does not exist.
“Despite the fact that the FDA report lacks the data, groups opposed to modern livestock production continue to peddle junk science on the percentage of antibiotics used for ‘non-therapeutic’ reasons, which include prevention and control of diseases, and to make comparisons of antibiotics used in food animals with those used in humans,” Warner added.