Tamiflu Use In Meat And Poultry Could Be Increasing Antibiotic Resistance In Humans

Tamiflu and antibiotics used in animal feed could be increasing drug resistance in people. A new US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study revealed that 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in America for meat and poultry production.

The amount of Tamiflu and other prescription drugs used in meat and poultry production was four times the amount sold to sick humans, Time reports. Under current law, livestock producers are not required to report which animals are treated with the drugs, how they use the drugs, or which drugs are used.

Tetracyclines and penicillins for animal use have increased for the second year in a row, the Huffington Post notes. In 2011, 38 percent of all penicillin sales were for animals. In the same year, a total of 98 percent of all tetracycline sales were for animals and livestock.

In 2012, the FDA attempted to create new guidelines regarding pharmaceutical labeling of antibiotics for livestock. Such labeling would note that antibiotics like Tamiflu would only be used on sick livestock. With the FDA guidelines proposal, there is still a catch – the process would be entirely voluntary, Food Safety News notes.

In China, is it reportedly a common practice for chicken farmers to use Tamiflu on poultry to prevent contraction of the H5N1 virus. A National Academy of Sciences study maintains that China is using drugs on chickens to prevent illness but also to enhance growth.

Michigan state University microbiologist James Tiedje noted that manure from pig farms in China showed antibiotic residues. During the study, Tiedje also found that more than 100 different resistance genes with levels 2oo times higher than in manure from pigs who had not consumed antibiotics. While the study detailed the problems in China, the microbiologist feels the matter is a worldwide problem. Similar results have also been reportedly documented in Europe.

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