Beef Buzz News
NCBA, Industry Groups Urge FDA to Make Science-Based Decisions on Antibiotic Use
Tue, 17 Apr 2012 12:34:35 CDT
Kristina Butts talks to Ron Hays about FDA Guidance on antibiotic use.
A trio of FDA documents published in last week's Federal Register which could potentially limit the use of antibiotics by animal producers has industry advocates concerned. Guidance 209 was finalized and recommends phasing out the use of medically-important drugs in agricultural production and increasing veterinary oversight in the therapeutic use of these drugs. Guidance 213 is a draft which encourages drug companies to remove production uses from the antibiotic and antimicrobial product labels. Another draft, Veterinary Feed Directive, outlines ways that veterinarians can authorize the use of certain animal drugs in feed.
Kristina Butts, executive director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association said the documents "really sets forward the Food and Drug Administration's philosophy on how the industry should use antibiotics judiciously-especially those that are critically important in human medicine."
She said cattle producers agree antibiotics need to be used judiciously, but that decisions regarding their labeling, availability and use should be soundly based in science. Some producers are fearful regulatory decisions will be made that harm the industry's goals of producing healthy, nutritious beef at a cost that is affordable to consumers.
"We can look at countries like Denmark who, pretty much for the most part, have banned the use of antibiotics for control and prevention of disease and what we're seeing now is they had increased mortality rates in their livestock population-it's mostly a pork population in Denmark-but now they're using more antibiotics to treat disease because they are not allowed to use antibiotics to prevent diseases."
Butts said the NCBA and other industry groups are working to with animal health experts and researchers to show regulators and Congress members "what impact it would have on our country if we use the precautionary principals and we don't allow strong scientific data to help drive these decisions on a policy front."
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