The Food and Drug Administration has published a summary report that shows about 29 million pounds of antimicrobials were sold in the United States in 2009 for use in food animals. The report was mandated by law. There is no comparison data available. The data, showed the largest classes of antimicrobials sold to be Tetracyclines at about 10.15 million pounds and Ionophores at about 8.23 million pounds.
The Union of Concerned Scientists says the data supports its assertion that antimicrobial use in food animals is too widespread and poses risks to human health by undermining the effectiveness of the drugs. National Pork Producers Council spokesman Dave Warner points out that Ionophores, which constituted nearly 29% of the pounds sold for animal use in 2009, are not even used in human medicine.
Howard Hill, DVM, who serves on the board of directors for the National Pork Producers Council, says the FDA report does not show that livestock producers overuse antibiotics, and it doesn’t show that they are being irresponsible. It simply shows that 28.7 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in the United States.