Six Common Misconceptions About Antibiotics and Meat

1. Misconception: 80% of antibiotics are used in animals.

Six Common Misconceptions About Antibiotics and Meat

The vast majority of different types of antibiotics are used either in people or in animals - not in both. The FDA has instituted guidance increasing the role of veterinarians in antibiotic prescriptions used for disease prevention and treatment purposes.

2. Misconception: Animal antibiotic use is the leading contributor to resistance.

Antibiotics and Meat Misconception: Animal antibiotic use is the leading contributor to resistance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most human antibiotic resistant infections are acquired in hospital settings and other residential health care facilities.

3. Misconception: There is no oversight of antibiotic use in animals.

Misconception: There is no oversight of antibiotic use in animals.

Because livestock and poultry are consumed for food, regulatory and veterinary oversight of the use of antibiotics is particularly strict. FDA has expanded the role of veterinarians in managing antibiotics given to animals.

4. Misconception: There are antibiotics in our meat.

Antibiotics and Meat Misconception: There are antibiotics in our meat.

Antibiotics must be eliminated from an animal’s system before it can be processed for food. A strict waiting, or “withdrawal,” period is enforced prior to slaughter, during which animals are not given antibiotics or other medications. USDA tests for residues, and more than 99% of meat products test negative.

5. Misconception: Antibiotics are primarily used for growth promotion in animals

Antibiotics and Meat Misconception: Antibiotics are primarily used for growth promotion in animals

In 2012, FDA asked livestock and poultry producers to phase out the use of medically-important antibiotics for growth promotion purposes. The meat industry supports this change.

6. Misconception: Superbugs are common on meat products.

Antibiotics and Meat Misconception: Superbugs are common on meat products.

All bacteria on meat and poultry are destroyed through proper cooking. Practice basic safe handling methods in the kitchen, like hand washing, separating raw and ready to eat foods, and cooking meat to the proper temperature.