By M Djuric, DVM
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued a guidance document on the use of antibiotics in farm animals. The document notes that excessive use leads to the spread of antibiotic-resistant diseases in both animals and humans. In the document, the FDA proposes that pharmaceutical companies voluntarily change some of their labelling and marketing practices to help phase out the use of certain antibiotics for enhanced food production.
All the drugs affected by this plan are antibacterial products, which have long been approved for the treatment, control or prevention of animal diseases. However, the same antibiotics are often added to the animal feed or drinking water of cattle, pigs, and poultry to gain weight faster or use less feed to gain weight.
The agency is asking animal pharmaceutical companies to notify the FDA within the next three months of their intent to voluntarily make the changes recommended in the guidance document. Based on timeframes set out in the guidance document, companies would then have three years to fully implement these changes.