FDA takes baby step reducing antibiotics pumped into cattle

Home on the Range

Federal drug regulators announced Wednesday that farmers and ranchers must restrict their use of a critical class of antibiotics in cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys because such practices may have contributed to the growing threat of bacterial infections in people that are resistant to treatment.

The medicines belong to a class of antibiotics known as cephalosporins and include such brands as Cefzil and Keflex. They are among the most common antibiotics prescribed to treat strep throat, bronchitis, skin infections and urinary tract infections. Surgeons also often use them before surgery to prevent bacterial infections.

The drugs’ use in agriculture has, according to many microbiologists, led to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the drugs’ effects, a development that many doctors say has endangered the lives of patients.

Antibiotics are often added to animal feed and are used routinely to encourage rapid growth of livestock, but officials at the Food and Drug Administration have been increasingly vocal in their concerns that overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is endangering human health. The agency proposed rules in 2010 to slow the use of penicillin, tetracycline and other antibiotics simply to promote growth or prevent disease in feed animals, but those rules have yet to be made final…

Perish the thought we offend a drug company or the owners of cattle feed lots.

No danger at all from the antibiotics in your food

The F.D.A. announcement on Wednesday has the effect of restricting some but not all uses of cephalosporins in agriculture…

The F.D.A. initially proposed its cephalosporin restrictions in 2008 but withdrew the rule before it became effective because of opposition from farmers and ranchers. The rule announced Wednesday is less strict than the one proposed in 2008; it allows for unrestricted use of cephapirin, an older member of the class of cephalosporins that is not thought to contribute significantly to antimicrobial resistance. And the new rule allows veterinarians to continue to use the drugs to treat many illnesses in feed animals as long as they follow guidelines about dosing and duration of use…

There is only one way agribusiness “challenges” the revision of FDA’s candyass regulatory practices.

Lobbyists trot out their bought-and-paid-for members of Congress to kill potential legislation, to threaten the FDA with reduction and elimination of funding if they try to enforce regulations based on science and health concerns instead of optimizing profits.

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