FDA establishes new rules for antibiotics and livestock

MCLEAN, Va. (WJLA) – At the Organic Butcher shop in McLean, owner Don Roden decided years ago the path he would take: selling local meats and seafood that are safe to eat.

"All of our meats are antibiotic and hormone free," he says.

So as you can imagine, Roden and his customers like Julie Siggins are thrilled that the FDA is now calling on pharmaceutical companies to re-label certain antibiotics so that the drug cannot be used to fatten up livestock.

"I'm delighted," says Siggins. "And I also believe it's about time."

The FDA is hoping that the decision will decrease the number of antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans, as the CDC recently announced that drug-resistant infections kill more than 23,000 people per year in the United States.

"It's pretty scary to think that we could potentially become immune to some of the antibiotics that are so necessary to keep many of us healthy," says Roden.

But this decision is not without its detractors. Some argue that antibiotics keep cattle, poultry, and pigs healthy in unsanitary conditions. As a result, this change could force farmers to improve animal welfare practices that in turn could raise the cost of meat.

Nevertheless, Organic Butcher customer Amgad Fayad is more than willing to pay a little extra for peace of mind.

"If we are eating non-organic food that has content in it such as antibiotics, it seems like we are contributing to the problem," he says.