FDA Appeals Court Order to Ban Antibiotics in Animal Feed

fdaFIC reported great news back in March when a federal court ordered FDA to finally follow up on its 35-year-old proposal to ban non-therapeutic use of common drugs – penicillin and two types of tetracycline – in animal feed, due to their potential contribution to antibiotic resistance.

Well, Food Safety News announced today that FDA has filed an appeal to overturn the March decision. We shouldn't be too surprised, given FDA's tendency over the years to ignore evidence suggesting the need to better monitor drug use in large-scale animal agriculture.

The agency seems to want to stick by its strategy of letting the industry voluntarily phase out antibiotics. Not very comforting – especially to the thousands of Americans who lose their lives every year because the antibiotics they need for treatment are no longer effective.

From Food Safety News:

If upheld, the decision will mandate FDA to follow through with drug company hearings that it must conduct in order to determine whether these drugs are indeed a threat to human health. If the antibiotics are found to be dangerous to humans, FDA must see that they are withdrawn from the market for use in animal feed.

It's time for the drug companies and the Big Ag producers that rely on them to be held accountable. Given the industry’s full-fledged campaign against agricultural whistleblowers, the other regulatory avenues to make Big Ag answerable shouldn't be closed down. Here's hoping the initial decision wins out in appeal.

Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.


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