Feds Crack Down on Antibiotics in Livestock

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The Food and Drug Administration unveiled new rules today that will restrict the use of antibiotics in cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys. Federal regulators said such drugs as cephalosporins, sold under the brand names of Cefzil and Keflex, have "contributed to the growing threat of bacterial infections in people that are resistant to treatment."

The antibiotics are commonly used to treat strep throat, skin infections, urinary tract infections and bronchitis in livestock. The drugs are often added to animal feed.

The FDA tried to restrict cephalosporin in 2008 but withdrew its rule due to opposition from farmers and ranchers. Feds said today's rule was "less strict," allowing for unrestricted use of cephapirin, an older class of cephalosporins that is not though to contribute to antimicrobial resistance. The new rule also allows for use of the drugs in ducks and rabbits.

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