Suit Says FDA Too Lax with Animal Antibiotics


The following article is from The Hill:

By Julian Pecquet

A coalition of consumer groups on Wednesday sued the Food and Drug Administration to force it to curtail use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

The use of drugs to promote animal growth and prevent illnesses in poultry and livestock kept in crowded conditions is causing concerns about drug-resistant strains. The agriculture and drug lobbies say those concerns are overblown.

“Accumulating evidence shows that antibiotics are becoming less effective, while our grocery store meat is increasingly laden with drug-resistant bacteria,” said Peter Lehner of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the plaintiffs. “The FDA needs to put the American people first by ensuring that antibiotics continue to serve their primary purpose — saving human lives by combating disease.”

The suit says the FDA acknowledged as far back in 1977 that feeding animals low doses of penicillin and tetracyclines could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria capable of infecting people. The agency hasn’t banned the practice, but it did put out non-binding draft guidance last year that suggested limiting the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals only when needed to assure the animals’ health.

The lawsuit demands the agency withdraw approval for most non-therapeutic uses of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed and respond to citizen petitions dating back to 1999 and 2005. The other plaintiffs are the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Separately, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has introduced legislation to phase out the non-therapeutic use of specific classes of antibiotics in food-producing animals, while permitting their continued therapeutic use in sick animals.

Source:  The Hill

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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