Opinions on antibiotics vary widely

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving ahead with new restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.  But there is still a big difference of opinion over whether those new rules are necessary—or whether they go far enough.

Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council, says they’re still not convinced that the use of antibiotics in livestock is the big issue.

“On a scientific basis, we’re not sure that growth promotion uses of antibiotics need to end,” Wagstrom says, “because we don’t feel that there is a proven negative public health impact to those uses.”

AUDIO: Liz Wagstrom (5:44 MP3)

But Susan Vaugh Grooters with the Center for Science in the Public Interest argues FDA’s voluntary restrictions on antibiotic use are not enough.

“Addressing a public health crisis like antibiotic resistance, with a voluntary approach, is inherently flawed,” Vaughn Grooters says. “We need the FDA to use their regulatory authority to protect the public health with a more enforcement mindset than they are now.”

AUDIO: Susan Vaughn Grooters (2:52 MP3)

Wagstrom and Vaughn Grooters were participants in a recent FDA-sponsored meeting in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The purpose of the meeting was to gather public input on the FDA’s proposed restrictions on antibiotic use combined with increased veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use.

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