Magazine article The Nation's Health

The Nation Health News at the National and Federal Levels

Magazine article The Nation's Health

The Nation Health News at the National and Federal Levels

Article excerpt

FDA issues order to regulate certain antibiotics in U.S. food animals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an order that restricts the use of a certain class of antibiotics in food production animals, but many public health advocates called the move merely a "good first step" in addressing the problem of antibiotic - resistant bacteria.

The FDA order, issued in January and scheduled to take effect April 5, restricts the use of the cephalosporin class of antimicrobial drugs in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys.

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"FDA's action is a small step forward on the path to preventing foodborne outbreaks from antibiotic - resistant pathogens," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "The order prohibiting certain uses of cephalosporin in many food - producing animals is clearly war - ranted, though it may be too little, and it is definitely too late."

She said her group has identified at least five foodborne outbreaks since 2001 linked to cephalosporin - resistant salmonella.

In 2008, FDA issued and then revoked an order that prohibited "extra - label" use of cephalosporin in food - producing animals with no exceptions. Such extra - label uses include, for example, injecting the antibiotic into eggs that are to be raised as broiler chickens. The 2012 order allows some exceptions such as no limits on the use of cephapirin, an older drug not believed by FDA officials to contribute significantly to antimicrobial resistance.

Health advocacy groups praised the new FDA order but also are encouraging public health professionals to push for more restrictions on antibiotic use in food animals. …

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