• Antibiotics in Food: Can Less Do More?

    Antibiotics in Food: Can Less Do More?

    Organizers: Gary R. Acuff (Texas A&M University), Robert Brackett, (Illinois Institute of Technology), Sarah Marie Cahill (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Bruce Cogill (Consultant), Jeffrey Farber (University of Guelph), Gilles Bergeron (The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science), and Mireille Mclean (The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science)Presented by The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science and the New York Academy of Sciences
    Reported by Alan Dove | Posted January 18, 2017


    Veterinarians treat animal diseases with many of the same antibiotics that physicians use to treat human diseases. Decades ago, though, farmers discovered that antimicrobial drugs can also cause animals to gain weight faster, increasing farms' efficiency and boosting profits. In theory, the chronic administration of antibiotics to billions of farm animals worldwide could increase bacterial resistance to these drugs. But does it, and if so, what should we do about it?

    On June 3, 2016, the New York Academy of Sciences' Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science hosted Antibiotics in Food: Can Less Do More?, a day-long conference on the use of antimicrobial drugs in agriculture. The meeting's first session featured presentations about the use of antibiotics on farms around the world, both historically and today, and the measures policymakers have taken to address public concerns about these drugs. The second session explored the molecular biology of antibiotic resistance, the potential economic effects of restricting these drugs on farms, and the challenges of monitoring antimicrobial stewardship across diverse segments of the food industry.

    Though scientists are still debating the relationship between veterinary antibiotic use and the rise of resistant human infections, attendees agreed that the available data, plus increasing public awareness of the issue, are giving scientists a unique opportunity to work with policymakers to improve both animal and human health.

    Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.


    Presentations available from:
    H. Morgan Scott, Texas A&M University
    Delia Grace, International Livestock Research Institute
    Jaap A. Wagenaar, Utrecht University
    Seamus Fanning, University College Dublin
    Alan G. Mathew, Purdue University
    David R. Wolfgang, Pennsylvania State University
    Agnes C. Agunos, Public Health Agency of Canada
    Stacy E. Sneeringer, USDA
    William J. Hall, Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom Antimicrobial Resistance Review

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    How to cite this eBriefing


    The New York Academy of Sciences. Antibiotics in Food: Can Less Do More?. Academy eBriefings. 2016. Available at: