Recently, livestock producers and veterinarians have been hearing about changes coming in the way antibiotics are used in food animals. In mid-December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final “guidance for industry” that starts the clock running on some of these changes. Initially, it’s the animal health companies that will be adjusting their practices — adjustments that will eventually make their way down to the people who prescribe and use the drugs: veterinarians and livestock producers.
The role of livestock antibiotics in contributing to resistant bacterial infections in humans is complex and has been long-debated. Producer associations have seen the writing on the wall for a couple of years now that these changes were coming. But what do they actually mean for producers?
What will change:
* The labeled uses of “medically important” antibiotics for growth promotion and improvements in feed efficiency will go away. The FDA is asking drug manufacturers to voluntarily take these uses off their products’ labels. Because extra-label use of feed grade antibiotics is illegal, these uses will no longer be legal as well. The companies have until mid-March to tell the FDA what products they plan to do this with. After that, they have three years to make the label changes, so livestock producers currently using antibiotics for growth promotion will have time to adjust, depending on how quickly the companies switch over.
The list of what FDA considers “medically important” antibiotics is pretty long. It contains older drugs like tetracyclines and penicillin along with classes of drugs that are more critical to human medicine, such as cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. When it comes to growth-promoting antibiotics that fall into this category, it’s drugs like tetracyclines, tylosin, and neomycin that will be affected.
Full text: http://tinyurl.com/ph4uuld