Judge Tells FDA to Reconsider Livestock Antibiotic Petition

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A judge is telling the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider their position on a petition filed in order to get the organization to look into the safety of animal feed antibiotics.

In both 1999 and 2005, concerned citizens requested that the FDA withdraw medically important antibiotics from animals that would be used as livestock.  The worry was that by including these antibiotics in the food supply, bacteria within animals was becoming more resistant to antibiotic treatment.  This would subsequently lead to humans being put at risk of falling afoul of this antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The FDA rejected their bid, saying that it would be too costly and take too much time.  A lawsuit was then filed by a coalition of public interest groups led by the National Resources Defense Council in order to overturn that decision.  Now, a judge has said that the agency was in error with their initial rejection.  The judge said to deny the petition request on the grounds that the FDA described would be both “arbitrary and capricious.”

This is but the latest such decision that seems to go against the FDA’s initial findings.  In March, they were ordered to begin the withdrawal of tetracyclines and penicillin in animal feed.  To keep such materials in an animal’s system, drug makers must prove that the administration of those antibiotics is safe.