Judge Mandates FDA Against Non-Therapeutic Use Of Antibiotics in Livestock

U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin proceedings to withdraw approval of non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock unless makers of the drugs can produce evidence that their use is safe.

The FDA had started such proceedings in 1977, prompted by its concerns the widespread use in livestock feed of certain antibiotics – particularly tetracyclines and penicillin, the most common. But the proceedings were never completed and the approval remained in place.
“In the intervening years, the scientific evidence of the risks to human health from the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock has grown, and there is no evidence that the FDA has changed its position that such uses are not shown to be safe,” Katz wrote.

The facts are hard to ignore.

Using common antibiotics in livestock feed has contributed to the rapid growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in both animals and humans and contributes to $20 billion in health care costs annually.

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