I

n an unexpected development, sales of antibiotics used in food-producing livestock fell in the U.S. in 2016 although drawing any firm conclusions from the data is likely premature, since a new program designed to limit usage did not go into effect until this year.

Last year, sales dropped 14 percent from 2015, the first time since data collection began in 2009 that there has been a year-over-year decrease in the sale of medically important antibiotics used in food-producing animals, according to a report from the Food and Drug Administration. “Medically important” refers to antibiotics that are also used to treat people.

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