14 December 2013, Washington Post, Brad Plumer -- "A basic primer: Why antibiotic resistance is a problem, what farms have to do with it, and why some people think the FDA's rules don't go far enough.
This week, the Food and Drug Administration announced new policies to curtail the widespread use of antibiotics in cows, pigs and chickens raised for meat. Critics say the moves didn't go nearly far enough. So why is this such a huge fight, anyway?
The basic problem here is pretty simple — and scary. Antibiotics are utterly indispensable to modern medicine. But they're also starting to lose their effectiveness: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are spreading fast and now kill at least 23,000 Americans each year.
One reason we're seeing so many new, resilient bacterial strains — from staph to strep to salmonella — is that we're overusing the antibiotics we already have, scientists say. This gives bacteria more opportunities to evolve and essentially outsmart these drugs. ..."
Photo: Turkeys raised without the use of antibiotics at David Martin’s farm in Lebanon, Pa. Credit: Matt Rourke/AP file photo