News last update:6 Aug 2012

FDA still embraces livestock antibiotics

The Food and Drug Administration recently rejected two similar petitions asking the agency to ban some uses of antibiotics in treating livestock.

The FDA, in a letter to several groups that submitted the petitions already in 1999 and 2005, said it shared their concern about "the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals for growth promotion and feed efficiency," but still denied the petition.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest and other groups told the FDA in the petitions that they feared the growing use of antibiotics for livestock to promote growth and as a cautionary measure to prevent illnesses in herds would result in bacteria becoming resistant to the drugs.
The FDA said, it is "pursuing other alternatives to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance related to the production use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture."
The agency said it has begun to address the issue by declaring that the use of medically important antibiotics in livestock "should be limited to those uses that are considered necessary for assuring animal health" and only used after a veterinarian is consulted.
No scientific proof
The National Pork Producers Council recently rejected any claims that antibiotic usage by the livestock industry contributes to antibiotic resistance.
"Not only is there no scientific study linking antibiotic use in food animals to antibiotic resistance in humans, as the US pork industry has continually pointed out, but there isn't even adequate data to conduct a study," the group said.

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