July 17, 2009
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it wants to ban certain uses of antibiotics in U.S. livestock in order to prevent the development of harmful bacteria in humans.
According to media reports, Joshua Sharfstein, FDA's principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, testified to the House Rules Committee on Monday that his agency supports banning the use of antibiotics in healthy livestock to promote growth and feed efficiency.
He also reportedly said farmers should be supervised by a veterinarian when administering drugs to their animals, meaning over-the-counter sales of antibiotics for veterinary use would end.
FDA contends current practices spur the spread of dangerous bacteria that become immune to many treatments.
Sharfstein noted the agency does not currently oppose the use of ionophores.
He entered testimony at a hearing on H.R. 1549, a bill sponsored by House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.). The bill generally would eliminate the use of "non-therapeutic" antimicrobials in food-producing animals unless they can be proven to pose no danger to human health.
These "non-therapeutic" uses are defined in the bill as "any use of the [critical antimicrobial animal drug] as a feed or water additive for an animal in the absence of any clinical sign of disease in the animal for growth promotion, feed efficiency, weight gain, routine disease prevention or other routine purpose."
Reprinted from meatingplace.com