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FDA: Antibiotics in meat put us all at risk of “superbugs.” They want to hear from you.

 
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It’s long been a practice of companies that produce beef, pork and poultry for American consumption to give their animals low-dose antibiotics in their food or water, in part to help them grow. By doing so, the animals grow to market weight more quickly, can be slaughtered sooner and save the companies money on feed.

But the Food and Drug Administration on Monday said it wants the process stopped, believing that overuse of antibiotics in animals can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains in humans – the so-called “superbugs.”

"Because bacteria are so good at becoming resistant to antimicrobial drugs, it is essential that such drugs be used judiciously to delay the development of resistance," says Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA's principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs.

"This is an urgent public health issue," Sharfstein said during a conference call with reporters. "To preserve the effectiveness [of antibiotics], we simply must use them as judiciously as possible."

From USA Today:

The draft guidance, published on the agency's website, also says that antibiotic use in animals should require veterinarian oversight. The public and industry will have 60 days to comment, and the FDA will then use those comments to consider its next move, Sharfstein says. "We're seeking guidance on how to achieve those principles."

However, public health advocates working to preserve the power of antibiotics say the FDA document is pretty much the same testimony Sharfstein gave before the House a year ago, with summaries of other reports tacked on.
"We were really disappointed because it's not really a plan for action," says Steven Roach, with Keep Antibiotics Working, a coalition of public health, consumer and animal welfare groups. "It describes what they would like to do, but they don't have any description of what they plan on doing or how they plan on doing it."

The draft guidance, published on the FDA website, also says that antibiotic use in animals should require veterinarian oversight. The public and industry will have 60 days to comment, and the FDA will then use those comments to consider its next move.

From Reuters:

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