Antibiotic resistance and the emergence of drug-resistant microbes are global public health issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and November 15-21 is the third annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week in the United States.

It coincides, the CDC notes, with Antibiotic Awareness Day, Nov. 18, in the European Union and Canada.

There are many reasons–including the inappropriate use of antibiotics–that infections with resistant bacteria are becoming more common in health-care settings, and that bacteria have become resistant to multiple antibiotics.

On the food safety front, one area of concern is what Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director, told Congress in July is “compelling evidence” of  “a clear link between antibiotic use in animals and antibiotic resistance in humans.” 

But those who oppose further regulation of the agricultural use of antibiotics dispute whether there’s conclusive scientific evidence that antibiotics used in food animals have a significant impact on the effectiveness of antibiotics in people.

Today and tomorrow in Food Safety News, Cookson Beecher looks at how dairy farmers in one state are addressing the issue and how a promising biological therapy may have the potential to not only treat sick cows, but also save human lives threatened by infectious diseases that no longer respond to antibiotics.

Meanwhile, information regarding the appropriate use of antibiotics in human health and how to participate in Get Smart About Antibiotics Week is available at