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A history of antibiotic use in farm animals

Last week the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to phase out routine use of antibiotics in farm animals, saying the practice produces dangerous drug-resistant bacteria that can infect humans. Farmers have been feeding antibiotics to animals for decades, and the FDA has struggled to curb the practice for at least 35 years. Here are some key dates in the history of the issue:

-1951 The FDA approves the first antibiotics for use in animal feed based on studies showing it helps chickens, pigs and livestock put on extra weight.

-1969 A committee of government experts in the U.K. concludes that the use of antibiotics in animals has contributed to antibiotic resistance in humans.

- 1970 A U.S. task force, including scientists from the FDA and other agencies, recommends some antibiotics used in humans be banned from use in animals.
 
 

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