Public health advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration this week.
The groups say the lawsuit challenges the refusal to phase out unnecessary uses of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
The groups include the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen and Earthjustice.
They allege that approximately two-thirds of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for use in food-producing animals and are often administered to healthy animals to compensate for the higher risk of infections typically caused by cramped, unsanitary or stressful conditions.
The lawsuit claims that the misuse of these medicines has contributed to the rise and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Steven Roach of Food Animal Concerns Trust says, “The FDA has allowed giant meat companies to habitually overuse antibiotics putting everyone’s health at risk,” adding, “This is absolutely unnecessary as animals raised under healthy conditions do not need routine antibiotics.”