“Antibiotic free” is a general claim that implies that no antibiotics were used in the production of a food product. Use of this term is considered "unapprovable" by USDA and may not be used on any meat or poultry products. The USDA considers the phrases "no antibiotics administered" and "raised without antibiotics" acceptable alternatives to “antibiotic free,” although there is no verification system in place to ensure that food producers back their claims.
Approximately 80 percent of all the antibiotics sold in the United States are used on farm animals, not on humans, and the majority of these animals are not even sick! Many farm animals are given antibiotics on a regular basis (some daily!) in a practice known as subtherapeutic administration. These regular doses are administered via the food and/or water supply in order to reduce disease in crowded, unsanitary conditions and to aid faster growth in the animals.
Misusing antibiotics on livestock encourages the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the waste from these animals contaminates drinking water and ecosystems. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and contaminated water sources both pose serious threats to human health.