Friday, January 6, 2012

FDA Withdraws Longstanding Petition to Regulate Antibiotics in Livestock Feed

The U.S. Food and Drug and Administration announced only days before Christmas that it has decided to back off a 34-year attempt to regulate the use of antibiotics in livestock feed for animals intended for human consumption, despite mounting scientific evidence that has linked the practice to the development of potentially fatal antibiotic-resistant superbugs in humans.

With no other notice aside from an obscure posting in the Federal Register on Dec. 22, the FDA declared it will now focus on encouraging "voluntary reform" within the industry instead of enforcing actual regulatory action, in addition to the "promotion of the judicious use of antimicrobials in the interest of public health." The agricultural industry began administering livestock feed with small doses of antibiotics in the 1950s, not to treat sick animals, but to attack bacteria that animals' would typically expend energy to fight off. Consuming low-levels of antibiotics allows livestock to fatten up faster and more efficiently, from a producers point of view. Source