Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Group says FDA still allows use of antibiotics that don't meet agency's own standards

For years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has permitted the use of antibiotics in livestock feed that had the potential to cause health problems in people, and it still is, despite recent action on the issue, say critics who have been pushing for such action, saying it creates strains of disease-causing organisms that are resistant to antibiotics.

"FDA officials reviewed about 30 animal-feed additives between 2001 and 2010, rating 18 of them 'high risk' in terms of contributing to health problems in humans," Brady Dennis reports for The Washington Post, citing research of federal records by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental lobby. The NRDC report found that "at least 26 of the feed additives that FDA researchers reviewed — some of which have been in use since the 1950s — did not meet standards set by the agency in 1973 that required companies to submit scientific studies proving that the drugs were safe," Dennis writes.

The FDA, which in December started an effort to phase out most antibiotics used in livestock, responded with a statement saying its internal review used in the report was “part of the agency’s overall effort to assess available, current information regarding antimicrobial resistance concerns associated with the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals.”

Researchers say they found evidence that at least nine of the feed additives that don't meet the standards are still being marketed, Dennis writes. "The FDA said Monday it remains confident that its current approach, which will give animal-drug companies and the agricultural industry several years to adapt, 'is the most efficient and effective way to change the use of these products in animal agriculture.'” (Read more)

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