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Several advocacy groups have asked the US Food and Drug Administration to “immediately” restrict certain uses of antibiotics in food-producing livestock, arguing that a voluntary effort will not mitigate growing resistance among humans to the medicines.

In a petition filed on Tuesday, the groups maintain that a voluntary FDA program — which was created three years ago — has not reduced antibiotic use in livestock, and they insist the FDA program “will not produce significant reductions in the future.” In fact, the groups argue that antibiotic use in food-producing animals has actually increased by 5 percent since the program was announced.


This is a contentious point because the medicines have been blamed for some 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And about 70 percent of antibiotics used to treat Americans are also used in livestock, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is among the groups that filed the petition.

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