June 28th, 2010
03:25 PM ET

FDA urges less use of antimicrobials in food production

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday called for  more judicious use of antimicrobial drugs in the production of animals that end up on our dinner tables. The goal is preventing drug resistance both in animals and in humans.

Antimicrobial drugs have been widely used for more than 50 years, benefiting both human and animal health, according to the FDA. The drugs prevent diseases from developing in food animals, and from being passed on to humans. Over time, a serious public health threat has developed because many of the drugs have lost their effectiveness due to the the development of drug-resistant microbial strains.

The FDA makes recommendations for more judicious use of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals.  Officials suggest phasing in the following measures to fight antibiotic resistance:

*Limiting the use of antimicrobials in food producing animals only for assuring animal health. Unfortunately, many operations use antimicrobials to increase production, or to produce larger animals, which contributes to the misuse of the drugs and raises the possibility of antibiotic resistance.

*Limit antimicrobial drug use to food-producing animals that include veterinary oversight or consultation. Many of these drugs are administered to food-producing animals without any veterinary oversight.

In addition, the FDA stresses the need for the animal health communities and the public health communities to collaborate to protect public and animal health by developing strategies to avoid the misuse of these drugs while protecting animal and human health.

This document is a statement of the FDA’s approach; it is not a regulation or a proposed regulation. The FDA will open a 60-day comment period on this issue.

After the 60 day period, the FDA will examine the comments and have workshops to determine  some type of next step  that will move to possible regulations on the agriculture industry in the future.

CNN Intern Graham Dubow contributed to this article.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Wakethefup

    These sites show animals eating peacefully in pastures. Animals raised in factories are given antibiotics, because they are confined to small areas - in close contact with other animals, in contact with sh!t - and are fed un-natural diets. If consumption of murdered-animal flesh is part of your repertoire, choose murdered animals that were PASTURE-RAISED.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. the50besthealthblogs.blogspot.com

    Is it unreasonable to expect the industry to raise animals in sanitary conditions that would prevent the infections in the first place?

    June 29, 2010 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pat

      Unfortunately, it HAS been a high expectation, because... they would lose M O N E Y. They are motivated most by their GREED for MONEY.
      If consumers turn away from them - despite their propaganda/marketing machines, then we CAN, most definitely, expect them to change their evil ways!

      June 29, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
  3. Kaern Sweet

    I only use antibiotics when my range cattle are injured (i.e. pinkeye) or ill and I follow the label directions as required by law. Producers are trained in use of drugs. FDA requires much research to approve all drugs & their use. Other agencies monitor animal health and potential drug residue in meat. I am confident that I provide consumers and my family with a safe product. I support the ongoing research that advises regulation and voluntary animal husbandry practices.

    June 29, 2010 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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