Documents Show FDA Allows Livestock Antibiotics Use Despite “High Risk” to Humans

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 29, 2014

News release: “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quietly allowed 30 potentially harmful antibiotics, including 18 rated as “high risk,” to remain on the market as additives in farm animal feed and water – despite an internal review that raised significant red flags, according to agency records obtained by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The data show the use of these drugs in livestock likely exposes humans to antibiotic resistant bacteria through the food supply. FDA’s scientific reviews of these antibiotics occurred between 2001 and 2010, yet the drugs remain approved and, in many cases, on the market for use in industrial animal agriculture operations. ”The evidence is clear. Drugmakers never proved safety. And FDA continues to knowingly allow the use of drugs in animal feed that likely pose a ‘high risk’ to human health. That’s a breach of their responsibility and the public trust,” said Carmen Cordova, NRDC microbiologist and lead author of the new NRDC analysis. “This discovery is disturbing but not surprising given FDA’s poor track record on dealing with this issue. It’s just more overwhelming evidence that FDA – in the face of a mounting antibiotic resistance health crisis – is turning a blind eye to industry’s misuse of these miracle drugs.” FDA’s documents, captured in the analysis Playing Chicken with Antibiotics, show safety reviews of various drugs in the penicillin and tetracycline drug classes — antibiotics considered important to human medicine, which together comprise nearly half of all antibiotics used in animal agriculture in the United States. The documents were acquired through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by NRDC…”

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