Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Banning antibiotics

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it wants to ban certain uses of antibiotics in U.S. livestock in order to prevent the development of harmful bacteria in humans.

According to media reports, Joshua Sharfstein, FDA's principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, testified to the House Rules Committee that his agency supports banning the use of antibiotics in healthy livestock to promote growth and feed efficiency.

He also reportedly said farmers should be supervised by a veterinarian when administering drugs to their animals, meaning over-the-counter sales of antibiotics for veterinary use would end.

FDA contends current practices spur the spread of dangerous bacteria that become immune to many treatments. Sharfstein noted the agency does not currently oppose the use of ionophores [coccidiostats].

Sharfstein entered testimony at a hearing on H.R. 1549, a bill sponsored by House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.). The bill generally would eliminate the use of "non-therapeutic" antimicrobials in food-producing animals unless they can be proven to pose no danger to human health.

Source: ASI Weekly News, July 17, 2009. Reprinted from meatingplace.com

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes H.R. 1549.