FDA: Antibiotic Use in Animals Poses a “Serious Public Health Threat”

Washington, D.C.—FDA has issued a draft guidance advising more judicious use of antibiotics in food-producing livestock, stating that antibiotic overuse in this manner is a “serious threat” to public health.

Summarizing a number of published reports on antimicrobial resistance, the draft guidance supports the conclusion that using antimicrobial drugs for production or growth-enhancing purposes (i.e., non-therapeutic or subtherapeutic uses) in food-producing animals is not in the interest of protecting and promoting the public health. The document also recommends measures that include veterinary oversight and consultation for the use of these antimicrobial drugs.

While FDA did not disclose what its next steps will be, Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, stated, “Using medically important antimicrobial drugs as judiciously as possible is key to minimizing resistance development and preserving the effectiveness of these drugs as therapies for humans and animals. FDA is committed to working with animal drug sponsors, the veterinary and public health communities, the animal agriculture community, and all other interested stakeholders in developing a practical strategy to address antimicrobial resistance concerns that is protective of both human and animal health.”

Comments on the draft guidance by August 30, 2010. Click here to read the document. 

For more in depth coverage, check back in August for WholeFoods’ feature article on natural and organic meat/poultry.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine online June 30, 2010.