October 21, 2021

FDA’s Guidance on Antibiotics in Animals Flawed

Food & Water Watch has studied the FDA’s list of 400 drugs that fall under the jurisdiction of their Veterinary Feed Directive, voluntary guidance GFI #213, and found that 89% of them can still be given to healthy animals for reasons other than growth promotion. That guidance asks veterinary drug makers to voluntarily rescind the approval of the antibiotics for growth promotion.

AntibioticsThe antibiotics can still be given to animals in their feed, at sub therapeutic levels, to prevent disease. The list of drugs includes “217 medically important antibiotic drugs with growth promotion indications.” Of those, 63% also have disease prevention indications. Of the remaining drugs, 59 can still be used for “disease control”. That leaves just 23 drugs with non approved non therapeutic uses under the guidance. In other words, GFI #213 does almost nothing because of these enormous loopholes.

Tyler Smith, program officer at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future told Food & Water Watch, “the overlap between growth promotion and disease prevention makes the voluntary guidelines a shell game. FDA should use its regulatory authority to ban feeding low doses of antibiotics to food animals, including for disease prevention.”

The comment period on GFI #213 is coming to an end. Most antibiotics used in livestock feed are sold without veterinary oversight or prescription. And that practice is creating antibiotic resistant bacteria. You can sign a petition to Congress, urging them to pass a law banning unnecessary antibiotic use on factory farms.

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