Antibiotics as feed additive

Medical and public health experts have long decried the use of antibiotics in animal feed, both to promote growth and to compensate for unsanitary conditions on industrial-scale farms, because it spurs the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that spread to humans via our food, air and water.

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70% of all antibiotics used in the U.S., nearly 25 million pounds annually, are used as feed additives for chicken, pigs, and beef cattle.

Tyson Foods has decided to raise its fresh chickens without antibiotics. []

A Johns Hopkins University study showed that the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in chicken feed slightly accelerated chicken growth, but that the benefit was offset by the cost of purchasing antibiotics, with the total cost rising by about one penny per chicken.