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FDA calls for 'phase out' of antimicrobial use for growth promotion in cattle

AVMA applauds agency's acknowledgment of veterinarian's role
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Jun 29, 2010
By dvm360.com staff
Rockville, Md. -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes to phase out antibiotic use in food animals unless there is medical necessity.

The proposed guidance was issued June 28 by FDA, and calls for a phase out of antimicrobial use for growth promotion in food animals. The document reiterates the benefits of therapeutic uses of antibiotics in food animals as means of protecting animal health and safeguarding human health.

“The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pleased that the FDA is committed to working with the veterinary profession to address antimicrobial resistance concerns,” Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA’s chief executive officer states in the association’s statement on the proposed rules. “Veterinarians are essential to any discussion regarding the importance of disease control and prevention. We look forward to reviewing and commenting on the draft guidance.”

The FDA guidance document is open to public comment for the next 60 days.

In March, AVMA representatives lobbied lawmakers against passage of broad antibiotic bans currently under review at the federal level, like the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA).

FDA’s new guidance document acknowledges the veterinary profession's efforts in calling for judicious use of antimicrobial drugs as a method to stave off antimicrobial resistance, but states that “additional steps are needed.”

The draft document proposes to limit antimicrobial use in food animals unless such drugs are medically necessary and administered by oversight or in consultation with a veterinarian, FDA reports.

“Using medically important antimicrobial drugs as judiciously as possible is key to minimizing resistance development and preserving the effectiveness of these drugs as therapies for humans and animals,” says Bernadette Dunham, DVM, PhD, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “FDA is committed to working with animal drug sponsors, the veterinary and public health communities, the animal agriculture community, and all other interested stakeholders in developing a practical strategy to address antimicrobial resistance concerns that is protective of both human and animal health.”