FDA Forbids Casual Use of Common Antibiotics in Livestock

Publication: The National Journal

Author: Maggie Fox


01/04/2012 - After more than three years of back and forth with the farm industry and advocacy groups, the Food and Drug Administration issued a rule on Wednesday that would forbid the non-medical use of common antibiotics in livestock in an effort to prevent the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria.

The rule would prevent the casual use of a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins in cattle, poultry, pigs, and turkeys starting in April. The goal is to protect human health – use of antibiotics in animals is linked with the development of germs that resist similar antibiotics. These so-called superbugs now infect hundreds of thousands of people in the United States each year.

Cephalosporins can be used to fight infections caused by staphylococci, E. coli, Haemophilus influenza, enterobacter, and other common bacteria. “If cephalosporins are not effective in treating these diseases, doctors may have to use drugs that are not as effective or that have greater side effects,” the FDA said in a statement.

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“Today’s action is a good first step,” said Laura Rogers, project director of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. “This restriction is a victory for human health, as it will help ensure we can still rely on cephalosporins to treat life-threatening infections today and in the future.”

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Read the full article, FDA Forbids Casual Use of Common Antibiotics in Livestock, on the National Journal's Web site.

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