A recent dvm360 article (“FDA's final antimicrobial regulation proposal provides veterinarians more flexibility”) highlights a major success on the part of both the animal health industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with clear benefits for American food consumers.
Years of hard work, negotiations, research and stakeholder outreach led to the creation of these FDA guidelines governing antibiotics in our animal feed. At a time when public opinion of our federal government is at an all-time low, the animal health industry has stepped up and showed how government can work. Huge kudos must go out to pharmaceutical manufacturers for patience, flexibility and sustained commitment to make this happen.
Of course, some folks can’t leave success alone—or, better yet, enjoy it! Now the California legislature wants to jump in (when no one is asking it to) to try to “improve” the situation. State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) from the South San Francisco Bay Area is proposing legislation to force California to amend its Food and Agriculture Code to push far beyond the proposed FDA guidelines.
These “improvements” are the classic example of a solution in search of a problem now that the FDA guidelines are in process. The net result in California? Progress is undone, costs for everyone—including consumers—go up, and a state representing more than 10 percent of the U.S. population will be out of sync on a key matter of food safety and production.
Fortunately, the 2014 California legislature started up on Monday, Jan. 6, so there is plenty of time to stop this unnecessary piece of legislation from becoming law. Readers with an oar in this water should get active before it’s too late.
Oh, and lest I forget, Happy New Year!
Mark Cushing, JD, is founding partner of the Animal Policy Group, providing government relations and strategic services for various animal health, veterinary and educational interests. He maintains offices in Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., and is a frequent speaker at veterinary conferences.
The Veterinary Policy Notes blog on dvm360.com helps veterinarians and other animal health professionals keep abreast of the growing number of issues, political challenges and regulatory initiatives affecting the veterinary profession, animal health industry and animal welfare movement.