NY Representative Louise Slaughter is glad the courts are finally forcing the FDA to limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed, something she has been trying to get done for years. Slaughter says it results in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are causing illness and death in people.
“In some cases you find it everything you buy at the store, practically every thing, four or five, antibiotic resistant bacteria.”
Dr. Sid Thakur, Asst professor at the college of animal medicine at NC State says not so fast…
“Simply taking off antimicrobial use won’t solve the problem of antimicrobial resistance. I really think there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to really reach that conclusion.”
In fact, according to Dr. Thakur, research shows that animals that have never been exposed to antimicrobials still harbor resistant pathogens:
“In my opinion, and my opinion is based on the research that we do in our lab, is that antimicrobial use and the resistance is not a black and white issue, there’s shades of grays in there. we’ve recently submitted work and it’s been accepted in American Society for Microbiology Journal applied microbials clearly showed that animals that have never been exposed to antibiotics also shared antimicrobial resistant pathogens.”
Dr. Thakur is of the opinion that wholesale restriction of drugs from food animals is ill advised:
“We need to be more judicious before taking any decisions. We have to carefully look at, for example the environment reservoir of these antibiotic resistant strains before we really say that that this particular antimicrobial leads to development of this antibiotic.”
Working as a team to address the issue is the way to find a solution, according to Dr. Thakur:
“Let’s take a holistic view, let’s do some more research, and see how we can really fight this issue as a team, instead of going about it in multiple different directions. But, I definitely feel that there is more work that needs to be done, simply saying taking a particular antibiotic is going to solve the problem of resistance. In my opinion, I cannot really say that’s the case.”
FDA banned certain penicillins and tetracyclines in animal feed, primarily hogs. Many producers stopped using the drugs years ago.