FDA target growth enhancement drugs
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has issued a new guidance document for the livestock industry aimed at phasing out the use of certain antibiotics for enhanced food production.
The move is aimed at curbing the growing incidence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and the threat to human health.
Illnesses caused by drug-resistant strains of bacteria are more likely to be potentially fatal when the medicines used to treat them are rendered less effective.
US farmers regularly add antibiotics to the feed or drinking water of cattle, pigs, poultry and other animals to help them gain weight faster or use less food to gain weight.
Announcing the voluntary plan, the FDA said the use of antimicrobial drugs, in both humans and animals, contributed to the development of antimicrobial resistance, so it was important to use these drugs only when medically necessary.
"We need to be selective about the drugs we use in animals and when we use them," said William Flynn, deputy director for science policy at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.
"Antimicrobial resistance may not be completely preventable, but we need to do what we can to slow it down."
Under the plan, the FDA hopes to work with animal pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily remove growth enhancement and feed efficiency indications from the approved uses of their medically important antimicrobial drug products.