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FDA Begins Process of Phasing Out Antibiotics Used in Meat

Finally, the Food and Administration (FDA) is taking a small step to address the rampant growth antibiotic-resistant diseases by launching a program that will eliminate some of the antibiotics used in commercial meat today.

When antibiotics are overused, bacteria that are used to treat can become resistant, negating the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment. Statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated last September that over 23,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant infections.

In response to this problem of growing public health and consumer demands, the FDA will ask drug companies to stop the labeling of drugs commonly used to treat infection humans as acceptable to promote growth in animals.

The program is currently voluntary for drug companies, however, deputy commissioner of the FDA food Michael Taylor explains that if companies do not comply, the FDA would have the ability to take “regulatory action” against them .

Two of the leading manufacturers of antibiotics for animals, Zoetis and Elanco (a division of Eli Lilly), have announced that they are on board with the new initiative of the FDA, which would make the use of specific antibiotics illegal animal veterinary prescription without a significant medical need.

animal pharmaceutical companies have three months to notify FDA compliance, and will then be given three years to eliminate the use of specified antibiotics.

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Taylor explains that this voluntary process was chosen because it would be faster than the creation of a mandatory process, which would have required a regulatory procedure to be established that could have taken years.

William Flynn, from the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, says. “We have to be selective about the drugs we use in animals and when we use Antimicrobial resistance can not be completely avoidable, but we must do what we can to slow down “

in a statement, the FDA adds.” Because the use of antimicrobials in humans and animals can contribute to the development of resistance antibiotics, it is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary. ”

new FDA plan not by any means mean a total victory for those meeting for a commercial industry meat free of antibiotics. Many antibiotics are still available for use in the animal growth promotion, but not “classified as the most important for the treatment of human infections.” The FDA said that among the prohibited animal use will penicillins and tetracyclines growth.

Some groups, including the Pew Charitable Trusts’ human health and the campaign of industrial agriculture, are pleased with the FDA’s initiative. Spokeswoman Laura Rogers said: “We applaud the FDA to take the first steps since 1977 to greatly reduce the overuse of antibiotics in livestock There is much work to be done, but this is a promising start, especially after decades of inaction. “.

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Others fear that efforts by the FDA is too minimal to have a significant impact. Steven Roach, senior analyst Keep Antibiotics Working, an advocacy group, says: “Our fear … is that there will be no reduction in the use of antibiotics as companies either ignore the plan altogether or just hang use antibiotics for growth promotion routine using the same antibiotics for disease prevention routine. ”

antibiotics in meat microbiologist Louise Slaughter, a Democratic representative from New York, agrees. She claims that the FDA action “is woefully short of what is needed to deal with a public health crisis.”

In the coming years, we will see if the new FDA program is successful, if drugmakers find loopholes, and if the FDA will decide to go further to address the serious problem of antibiotic resistance.

alternative -The Daily

Sources:
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/ap/top-news/fda-targets-antibiotics-in-meat/ncHgX
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/12/11/fda-to-phase-out-some-antibiotic-use-in-animal-production
http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0916-untreatable.html

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