• For years, FDA, USDA, and various industry stakeholders have sought to tackle public health concerns associated with the use of medically important antibiotics to promote growth or feed efficiency in food-producing animals. In the U.S., FDA is working with industry to gradually phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for production purposes. Recently, states have also contributed to these efforts, with California, for example, adopting strict limits in 2015 on the use of antibiotics in healthy livestock, effectively barring their routine use to prevent illness or promote growth. Now, San Francisco is at the forefront of efforts to curb antibiotic use in food producing animals.
  • On October 3, 2017, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance requiring major grocery chains to report information about antibiotic use in the raising of livestock, becoming the first U.S. city to do so. The ordinance, which is scheduled to take effect in April 2018, requires grocers that own or operate 25 or more stores to submit annual reports that include the purposes for which the antibiotics were used, the number of animals raised, the total volume of antibiotics administered and whether the use was “medically important.” Grocers who violate the ordinance may be subject to fines (as much as $1,000 per day) or imprisonment.
  • Since no similar federal measures are expected in this arena in the near term, it is not inconceivable that other localities may seek to follow San Francisco’s lead. We will monitor developments in this regard and report them to you here.