FDA is seeking to minimize the overuse of antibiotics on animals by limiting their use to treating sick animals. The recent request by the FDA to voluntarily limit the use of antibiotics is driven by concerns that harmful bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to the traditional medicines and treatments.
This is not the first time the FDA is making such a move. In 1977, Congress opposed the regulator's attempts to restrict the use of antibiotics. Since then, medical practitioners, activists and consumer groups have been advocating for restrictions on the use of the antibiotics. Two years ago, the agency denounced the practice and said it was not in the interest of protecting public health.
Adding antibiotics to animal feed and water has been a routine practice since the 1960s. Low doses of antibiotics administered over a long period helps to protect animals from getting sick and accelerates their growth. With the prolonged use of antibiotics, harmful bacteria eventually mutate and become resistant to the treatments, necessitating use of stronger drugs to kill them. This puts consumers of the animal products at risk of potentially dangerous infections when the superbugs are passed to them.
The new guidelines recommend using the antibiotics only on ill animals and under the supervision of a veterinarian. The FDA is urging pharmaceutical companies to stop promoting the commonly used antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline as growth promoters in animals. It argues that a voluntary approach is more effective and will yield faster results. It expects to effect the changes fully within three years.
The shift from using food products from animal treated with antibiotics is already in force in the European Union. Some leading fast food chains who do not accept meat products from animals fed with antibiotics. However, advocacy and consumer groups are skeptical, saying that the voluntary approach has proven ineffective in the past. They want the FDA to make restricted use of antibiotics mandatory.
What do you think? Is this a good move by the FDA, or weak attempt to show concern for our nation's health and wellness?continue...
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