U.S. PIRG statement on 2017 sales of medically-important antibiotics to food-producing animals

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG


WASHINGTON — Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released data showing that overall sales of medically-important antibiotics to food-producing animals decreased by 33 percent from 2016 through 2017, and have fallen 28 percent since 2009, when recording began. 

In response, Matt Wellington, Antibiotics Program Director for U.S. PIRG, released the following statement:

“The bottom line is that the less we use antibiotics, the better our chances of preserving these life-saving medicines for the future. So, it’s good news to see a decrease in the sales of medically-important antibiotics to food-producing animals. 

“The actions the FDA has taken, such as increasing veterinary oversight and prohibiting some inappropriate uses of the drugs, appear to have contributed to chipping away at the massive overuse of antibiotics in the meat industry. That said, the FDA should implement ambitious reduction targets for antibiotic use in the meat industry, and ensure that these medicines are used to treat sick animals or control a verified disease outbreak, not for routine disease prevention.

“Food companies have also taken action over the last several years to reduce antibiotic use in their meat supply chains. Those actions may have contributed to the reductions in antibiotic sales to meat producers as well.”


U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being.