When he was 15, Sam Spits, now in his early 20s, contracted a drug-resistant strain of campylobacter that left him weakened and unable to play high school sports again. More people are questioning use of antibiotics in livestock saying it can increase the creation of drug-resistant pathogens. Stacey Westcott/Chicago Tribune/MCT/file photo
FDA unveils plan to rein in antibiotics on farms
The plan would rein in what’s believed to be decades of widespread use of antibiotics on farms to promote faster growth in livestock and pre-empt disease in confined and unsanitary conditions. Farms consume about 80 percent of the nation’s antibiotics supply, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“Implementing this strategy is an important step forward in addressing antimicrobial resistance,” said Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. “The FDA is leveraging the cooperation of the pharmaceutical industry to voluntarily make these changes because we believe this approach is the fastest way to achieve our goal. Based on our outreach, we have every reason to believe that animal pharmaceutical companies will support us in this effort.”
“The FDA’s voluntary guidance is an inadequate response to the overuse of antibiotics on the farm with no mechanism for enforcement and no metric for success,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. “Sadly, this guidance is the biggest step the FDA has taken in a generation to combat the overuse of antibiotics in corporate agriculture, and it falls woefully short of what is needed to address a public health crisis.”