The FDA last week proposed new rules designed to curtail the widespread use of antibiotics in animals raised for food: 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to cows, pigs and other livestock, not because they’re sick but to speed growth. This dramatically reduces the effectiveness of antibiotics in people.

The new rules are still mostly voluntary. The FDA seems to be hinting that if ranchers don’t act on their own, then it will get tough. That’s a hoot.

In 2011, the FDA asked drugmakers to voluntarily reduce sales of antibiotics in food animals. Ranchers responded by increasing the use of drugs by almost 3 million pounds within the next year. Expect more of the same.

The only solution is an outright ban on pumping livestock full of antibiotics. The European Union did it in 1999.

The FDA is being equally soft on antibacterial soaps. It recommends that makers of antibacterial soaps and body washes show that their products are safe for daily use and are more effective than just plain soap and water.

But it has zero evidence that these soaps do what they say they do. Furthermore, research indicates that one ingredient, triclosan, alters the way hormones work in the bodies of animals. It is also suspected of making bacteria resistant to antibiotics, which has caused some European countries to ban its use in certain products.

Decades of hints have done nothing, and Americans are increasingly vulnerable to infections that antibiotics no longer cure. The FDA should be writing – and enforcing – regulations to prevent the use of antibiotics in farm animals and of dangerous chemicals such as triclosan in soaps and body washes.