Today, the FDA announced it will ask livestock producers, drug companies, and veterinarians to limit their use of antibiotics to promote growth in food producing animals, according to the LA Times and other news sources.
“The FDA’s recommendations included guidelines to help the industry phase out the antibiotics for “production use” and transfer oversight of the drugs for therapeutic work to veterinarians (that is, require a prescription). The FDA also offered draft guidance to drug companies for labeling their products to require a prescription and draft regulations to allow veterinarians to authorize the use of “certain drugs” in feed.”
“FDA’s guidance will not help solve the problem because the guidance has no binding force: it is still entirely up to the livestock industry to decide whether to follow the recommendations or ignore them. And even if we hear encouraging promises from industry, there is no assurance that improvements will actually follow. In fact, based on what we have seen so far we fully expect that non-binding guidance will do nothing to change the overuse of antibiotics in healthy livestock. Why is that? We have essentially been using a system of voluntary action since public health risks were revealed over three decades ago. Also, the guidance has existed in draft form since 2010. There is no reason to expect different results from more of the same.”