Issue Date: January 9, 2012
FDA Limits Antibiotics In Farm Animals
FDA is prohibiting some uses of cephalosporin antibiotics in cattle, swine, chickens, and turkeys, effective on April 5. The move is intended to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance in certain bacteria and to preserve the effectiveness of cephalosporin drugs for treating human diseases such as pneumonia, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. Under the order issued last week, FDA is banning “extralabel” uses of cephalosporins—uses other than those specified on the label—in major food-producing animals. Prohibited practices include using cephalosporins at unapproved doses, frequencies, or durations; using cephalosporins approved for humans only; and using the drugs for disease prevention. In 2008, FDA issued a similar order prohibiting all extralabel uses of cephalosporins in farm animals. FDA reversed the order, however, after it received hundreds of letters from pharmaceutical companies and farm groups. Unlike the 2008 rule, the new order includes an exception for cephapirin, an older drug that FDA believes does not contribute significantly to antibiotic resistance. Advocates for increased restrictions on antibiotics praised the order but called it a modest first step. Industry groups, on the other hand, remain opposed to the limits.
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