News Release: Fewer Animal Antibiotics May Create Public Health Ills

DATE: June 26, 2006



ORLANDO—Lack of development of new antibiotics to treat infectious diseases among animals could leave a void of alternatives should resistant bacteria make current antibiotics useless. This is according to the Institute of Food Technologists and its latest Expert Report, Antimicrobial Resistance: Implications for the Food System .

IFT urges government agencies and other key decision-makers to create a climate beneficial to the development of new veterinary drugs targeting infectious diseases in the management of animals for food.

"Efforts to develop new antibiotics are being abandoned in favor of drugs combating non-infectious diseases," says Michael P. Doyle, Ph.D., chairman of the IFT expert panel, microbiologist and food safety expert. "The result on animal health is few or no new antibiotics—even as resistance threatens to make the current generation of veterinary antibiotics useless."

According to today’s report, antibiotic treatments used in the production of animals for food can benefit public health by reducing from within the livestock the pathogens that cause human illness. However, as strains of bacteria become resistant to such treatments, the development of new antibiotics is not keeping pace.

"Maintaining the effectiveness of antibiotics in food production is critical," says Doyle

This is the fourth Expert Report commissioned by IFT and funded by the nonprofit IFT Foundation, following the release of Functional Foods (2005), Emerging Microbiological Food Safety Issues (2002) and Biotechnology and Foods (2000). It was released at the IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo® in Orlando, the world’s single largest annual scientific meeting and technical exposition on food.