FDA’s Approach To Livestock Antibiotics Questioned

Posted on January 28, 2014

The debate continues to rage over whether or not the Food and Drug Administration is doing enough to curtail the usage of antibiotics in feed for livestock intended for the food supply.  The concern is that providing these antibiotics to animals could lead them to develop resistances that could then be passed on to humans, leading citizens to be more susceptible to illnesses from super-viruses.

The National Resources Defense Council has come out with a report based on the findings that resulted from a Freedom of Information Act request.  They discovered that the FDA reviewed 30 additives over the course of a decade starting in 2001, and of those, only four met standards that have been around for four decades.  Those standards require studies to be carried out in order to ensure the safety of the products.

These items continued to be allowed as additives in animal feed despite concerns about safety, and the NRDC says nine such additives are still marketed.  In response to the NRDC’s critique of their practices, the FDA has emphasized that it is taking a more blanketed approach to addressing the issue.

Toward the end of last year, the FDA announced that it would be working even harder to reduce antibiotic usage for any means other than to correct a medical issue.  Those recommendations would require vet approval for antibiotic administration and a ban on antibiotic-assisted growth enhancement.

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