FDA withdraws two antibiotic proposals

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn two long-standing proposals to ban the use of the antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline for use in food-animal feed. Those proposals have been in place for 34 years, since 1977. Recently, the FDA denied several consumer group petitions aimed at forcing the FDA to ban those antibiotics used for growth promotion and disease prevention. Thursday’s action kills those proposals.

In its posting in the Federal Register – the FDA says it “remains concerned about the issue of antimicrobial resistance” from the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals. The agency says while not ruling out the possibility of regulatory action in the future, it is changing its strategy toward voluntary withdrawal.

In 2010, the FDA issued draft voluntary guidance on limiting sub-therapeutic dosing, meaning they were encouraging voluntary withdrawal of those antibiotics, warning they could pose potential human antibiotic resistance problems.

The FDA is accepting public comments online at “regulations dot gov”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association stated Friday that “The judicious use of antibiotics is just one of the important tools cattlemen use to provide a comprehensive herd-health plan to prevent problems and treat animal health issues. Antimicrobial resistance is a complex, multi-faceted issue that affects human and animal health. That being said, there is no conclusive evidence scientific evidence indicating the judicious use of antibiotics in cattle herds leads to antimicrobial resistance in humans. NCBA supports the role that FDA plays in making science-based decisions regarding the safety and efficacy of antibiotics and antimicrobials used in animal agriculture.”

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