Maine is being called the first state in the nation to adopt a state purchasing preference policy that discourages feeding antibiotics to meat-producing animals.

The policy informs meat producers that Maine prefers products from animals that have not been fed subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics.

A new law also calls for further study into the prudent use of antibiotics in Maine animals, based on the notion that antibiotics fed to animals are in the same class as those fed to humans. The assumption is, if those antibiotics become resistant to bacteria, that resistance could be transferred to humans, making it harder to treat infections in people.

Supporters of Maine’s purchasing policy are pressing federal lawmakers in Maine and New Hampshire to support federal legislation addressing the issue.