July 30, 2021

FDA Data Shows Continued Antibiotic Use on Farms

The organization Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW) has released a statement on just released FDA data about antibiotic use in food animals. The government said that for the second year in a row, sales of penicillins and tetracyclines for use in food producing animals increased. Sales rose from 11.5 million pounds in 2009 to 14.4 million pounds in 2011. Penicillins and tetracyclines are important in human medicine and are the most commonly used antibiotics in food producing animals.

AntibioticsCongressional debate about the reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) is beginning. The Act is set to reauthorize this year. KAW says that strong action to address the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture is needed.

Steven Roach, Public Health Program Director at Food Animal Concerns Trust and a member of KAW, said, “in the face of the antibiotic resistance crisis, we cannot afford to be standing still. We need strong action to combat the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. The FDA needs to use all the tools it has available to begin rolling back this massive use of antibiotics.

Most medically important antibiotics sold in this country are for use in food producing animals. The World Economic Forum recently reported that the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human medicine and livestock is creating “the real threat that once easily treatable infections will no longer respond to antibiotic therapy.”

The FDA is seeking voluntary industry action on antibiotic overuse. In addition, the government dropped proposals to withdraw approval for the use of tetracyclines and penicillins in animal feed, but a Federal judge ordered them to reverse that decision last year. The FDA has appealed the decision.

KAW urges Congress to pass legislation that would address the shortcomings in the FDA and reduce antibiotic resistance by phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics in food animals that are not sick.


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