Antibiotic Resistance & Antibiotics in Animal Agriculture

Healthy Food in Health Care engages the health care community in bringing an end to the routine use of antibiotics in raising food animals. Such routine, non-therapeutic use contributes significantly to the rise in resistant bacterial infections in humans and is unnecessary.

According to government estimates, up to 80% of all the antibiotics consumed each year are routinely given to poultry, beef cattle, and swine in their feed, not to treat diagnosed disease, but to promote faster growth and to prevent disease outbreaks that are inevitable under confined, often unhygienic conditions where most US animals are raised. Many such feed antibiotics are identical or very nearly so to human medicines, including penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin and sulfa drugs.

This currently legal, routine and unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal agriculture contributes significantly to the rise in resistant bacterial infections in humans. Numerous health organizations including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Health Care Without Harm have called for an end to this practice.

The healthy food and healthcare program at the Ecology Center is providing education to healthcare professionals to promote public policy advocacy and market transformation within institutions, which encourages hospitals to preferentially purchase meat and poultry produced without non-therapeutic antibiotics. Dozens of hospitals have signed on to our Balanced Menus Challenge, which asks facilities to commit to sustainable meat and poultry purchasing.

For more information about the issue, please refer to below list of resources.

Key Resources

Factsheets & Resources


Webinar Series - Protecting Antibiotics: How Health Care Can Prevent Antibiotic Overuse in Animal Agriculture


Scientific Research




Take Action in your Institutions

Antibiotic Stewardship Toolkit -- Passing Food Purchasing Resolutions

Procurement Guides

Understanding Labels and Certifications

Procurement Case Studies


Learn More About the Issue 



More Webinars


Policies: Institutions and Health Professional Organizations


Public Policy


Other Purchasing Guides & Materials


Graphs and Infographics




In The News - Annoucements & Updates


News  |  May 28, 2021
Ecology Center found PFAS in all tested fertilizer and compost products. Check these products labels to find out the source of the materials. Ingredients listed as “biosolids” and “residuals” are code words for sewage sludge.
Press Release  |  March 30, 2021
The latest annual report card scoring retailer actions on toxic chemicals is out. About 2/3 of the companies have made progress over the last year.
PFAS in Fast Food Packaging
Press Release  |  August 6, 2020
The new report shows that all six food chains sampled had one or more food packaging items that likely contain toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)—chemicals known to threaten human health.