By Donald Kennedy, Published: August 22
Donald Kennedy was commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1977 to 1979. He is professor emeritus of environmental science at Stanford University.
When I was commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency’s national advisory committee recommended in 1977 that we eliminate an agricultural practice that threatened human health. Routinely feeding low doses of antibiotics to healthy livestock, our scientific advisory committee warned, was breeding drug-resistant bacteria that could infect people. We scheduled hearings to begin the process of curtailing the use of penicillin and other antibiotics for this purpose, but Congress halted the effort before it started. MORE