California Adopts Tough Rules on Farm Antibiotics

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a bill that sets the strictest government standards in the United States for the use of antibiotics in livestock production.

The move from California, known for its leadership on public health and environmental issues, comes amid growing concern that the overuse of such drugs is contributing to rising numbers of life-threatening human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 2 million people in this country are infected with drug resistant bacteria each year and that 23,000 die as a direct result.

“This puts California at the forefront of U.S. efforts to address the overuse of antibiotics in meat production,” said Avinash Kar, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).