Instead of making good on its 1977 promise to limit the use of drugs as growth promoters in animals, the FDA is going in the other direction.
Over the past several weeks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been in the news for its stance on antibiotic use in farm animals. Yet instead of making good on its 1977 promise to limit these drugs in livestock, the agency is moving in the opposite direction. The latest developments reveal that the FDA is actively trying to avoid protecting Americans from a known health hazard that the agency itself acknowledges.
In court papers (PDF) filed this week, the FDA:
- Acknowledged that scientists have long warned about antibiotic use: "In April 1970, the Commissioner established a scientific task force to review the use of antibiotic drugs in animal feeds. In 1972, that task force published a report acknowledging that the use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals was associated with the development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria."
- Repeatedly confirmed the threat from antibiotics: "A series of additional studies were conducted by other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations during the 1990s, all of which generally supported FDA's concerns regarding the public health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance." And "a series of additional studies were conducted by other government agencies and non-governmental organizations during the 1990s, all of which generally supported FDA's concerns regarding the public health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance."
- Said that use of antibiotics in farm animals should be limited: "The use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals should be limited to those uses that are considered necessary for assuring animal health."