If you go by their declarations and promises, meat producers are drastically cutting back on the use of antibiotics to treat their poultry, pigs and cattle. Over the past year, one big food company after another has announced plans to stop using these drugs.
But if you go by the government's data on drugs sold to livestock producers, it's a different story.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, which compiles these numbers, sales of antibiotics for use on the farm increased in 2014, just as they had for most years before that.
And most alarming to public health advocates, sales of antibiotics important in human medicine went up three percent from 2013 to 2014, the FDA found. That's just slightly less than the five-year trend.
In addition to treating sick animals, meat producers use antibiotics to prevent disease and also to get animals to grow faster. The FDA has taken steps to stop the use of these drugs for growth promotion purposes by the end of 2017.