The U.S. government should take action to prevent the use of antibiotics in food animals used to promote growth, because the practice contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the American Medical Association (AMA) claims.

The AMA addressed the issue in June, when it adopted Resolution 513 — a document that calls for its members to actively support measures that could curb the impact of drug overuse. Some of the steps to achieve this include prescribing antibiotics to animals by a veterinarian only if necessary and a more expansive oversight and data collection of antibiotic use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Food Safety News reported.

According to David Wallinga, a physician on the Keep Antibiotics Working steering committee, U.S. doctors are highly concerned with the fact that the antibiotics they are prescribing are not yielding the expected results. The AMA's resolution is a reaction to the increasing risk that doctors face but the general public is still largely unaware of, he added.

Previously, the AMA only recommended that antimicrobials should not be used at non-therapeutic levels in agriculture and called for that such uses to be phased out or terminated immediately, but it was not stringent enough, according to Food Safety News. The new resolution replaced the previous one, as the public and industries often look to the AMA for a market signal and regulatory direction, Wallinga said.