The California Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation last week that will limit the use of antibiotics in livestock production. The bill, SB 416, which was sponsored by Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter), would ban the use of subtherapeutic antibiotics in livestock by the year 2015. The bill will also require school districts to make every effort to purchase poultry and meat products that have not been treated with non-therapeutic antibiotics, which was an amendment from the original language.
Florez’s original bill prohibited schools from serving poultry and meat from animals that had been treated with antibiotics at any time during the life of the animal. The bill still adds significant administrative burdens to school purchasing programs. When not purchasing antibiotic-free meat, the bill would require school districts to track why such a purchase was not made. It also would require the superintendent of public instruction to report annually to the state Legislature on the feasibility of statewide implementation of a program requiring schools to purchase products not treated with antimicrobials.