(April 13, 2012) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week issued guidelines designed to limit the use of some antimicrobial medicines in animal agriculture, while increasing veterinarian oversight requirements for their use.
Dairy Profit Weekly editor Dave Natzke discussed the key issues in the FDA plan on Friday’s DairyLine:
“In some cases, antimicrobial drugs have been administered or mixed in feeds or water to ward off infections and diseases in meat- and milk-producing animals, protecting the safety of the nation’s food supply, while enhancing livestock growth and feed efficiency. Under this new FDA policy, all antimicrobial medicines approved for use in animal agriculture will be used only for therapeutic purposes, such as disease treatment, control and prevention, and only under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
While the FDA policy has been in the works for years, it comes on the heels of a March 22 federal court ruling, in which a judge ordered FDA to start proceedings to withdraw approval of some antibiotics used in food animal production.
The FDA published three documents in the Federal Register this week.
The first provides guidance giving veterinarians more oversight in the therapeutic uses of drugs to treat livestock, while recommending phasing out use of medically important drugs in production agriculture.
The second provides guides for drug companies to voluntarily remove production uses of antibiotics from their FDA-approved product labels; changing those labels to emphasize disease prevention, control and treatment uses, with increased veterinary oversight.
The third document outlines ways that veterinarians can authorize the use of certain animal drugs in feed.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the new strategy will ensure farmers and veterinarians have access to medicines necessary to care for sick livestock, while at the same time protecting human health by reducing the chances of antimicrobial resistance development.”