Does the addition of antibiotics in subtherapeutic amounts to animal feed as a method of promoting growth pose a threat to public health?
Or does clinical use of antibiotics without specific indications pose the real threat—that of inadvertently creating dangerous resistant strains of bacteria?
The battle lines in this debate have been drawn clearly for years. On the one hand, meat and chemical producers point to physicians as the culprits in their overuse of antibiotics. For their part, clinicians say farmers threaten human health in pursuit of profit.
The Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and the Office of Technology Assessment as well as many independent researchers all have called for severe restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animal feed.
Says Don B. Clewell, PhD, of the Department of Oral Biology and Microbiology at the University of Michigan, "Any subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal feed creates