Illinois was the birthplace of mass-produced penicillin, a development that allowed the world to access the life-saving drugs. But now, amid a global health crisis, Illinois is working to save these same medicines.

On Feb. 5, Sen. David Koehler introduced the Illinois PIRG-backed Keep Antibiotics Safe Act to ban the routine use of antibiotics in food production. Health professionals have raised alarms about the threat of antibiotic resistance from the overuse of routine antibiotics in livestock.

“Illinois was critical to the development of the modern medical miracle of antibiotics,” said Illinois PIRG State Director Abe Scarr. “Now we can be critical in preserving their effectiveness for future generations by passing the Keep Antibiotics Safe Act.”

Our national network has helped pass similar legislation in California and Maryland and pushed Chicago-based McDonald's to limit antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. We hope that we can help Illinois pass this bill to preserve the antibiotics that it was so instrumental in developing.

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Photo Caption: Antibiotics are routinely given to livestock on factory farms to help them survive crowded and unsanitary conditions.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons CC0 via Pxhere