A recent House Committee panel hearing centered on FDA draft guidelines for the use of medical antibiotics in livestock. Rod Bain reports.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration issued a draft recommendation on the subject of animal antibiotics in livestock and the possible connection antibiotic resistance in both humans and animals.
In the draft guidance, FDA concludes that the overall weight of evidence, to date, supports the conclusion that using medically important antimicrobial drugs for production purposes isn’t in the best interest of protecting and promoting public health” according to testimony offered by
Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein before a House Energy and Commerce Committee Panel on the subject.
Among those providing input on this draft recommendation was USDA. And according to USDA Chief Veterinarian John Clifford…”USDA believes that it is likely the use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture does lead to some cases of antimicrobial resistance in humans and in animals themselves, and that we must use medically important antimicrobials judicially.”
And while Clifford notes that judicious use of some medically important antibiotics such as those used in treatment control and prevention of animal health diseases should be considered in preventing antibiotic resistance, when it comes to antimicrobials also known as growth promoters, used by the livestock industry…”there are antimicrobials that are used that have no analogue being used in human medicine, and should not be of concern unless there’s proven evidence to the human side. Our position is that, with regards to judicious use of medically important antibiotics, we’re talking about treatment, control and prevention of animal health issues and disease.”
Clifford says USDA believes policy decisions must be science based, must include research and must include partnership with other federal agencies…”what constitutes judicious use and how it applies is the central question to this debate. This must be answered with sound scientific evaluation and with data-based decision making. USDA’s working to conduct surveillance and research and a number of agencies within the department are actively engaged on projects to better understand the issue.”
And the chief veterinarian says USDA also plans to make veterinary experts available to provide for veterinarians and producers…” this nation’s farmers and ranchers want to do the right thing. If we provide them with the resources and information so that they can make informed decisions they will do the right thing.”