FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION
? Medical and Health Groups File Petition to Keep
Antibiotics Out of Feed
On April 7, the American Academy of Pediatrics and
the American Public Health Association, joined by the
Consumers Union, Food Animal Concerns Trust and Environmental
Defense, filed a petition with the U.S. Food & Drug
Administration (FDA) to ban seven types of antibiotics
from being fed to hogs, cattle, and chickens for subtherapeutic
(non-disease treatment) uses such as growth promotion
or disease prevention. The groups note that the ban
is necessary to prevent the development of antibiotic
resistant pathogens which can infect both animal and
human populations and request that the use of these
antibiotics be limited to situations where animals are
being treated for a disease. The Government Accountability
Office (GAO) last year urged the FDA to speed its analysis
of the antibiotics - the agency's effort to prohibit
the use of one antibiotic in chickens has been going
on for several years. GAO also said the government should
start collecting data on the antibiotic use.
The same day Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) joined lead sponsors Sen.
Olympia Snowe (R-ME), chair of the Small Business Committee,
and Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), ranking member of the
Senate Health Committee, in re-introducing the Preservation
Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2005 (S. 742).
The bill calls for the phase out of the seven types
of antibiotics as feed additives within two years, unless
the FDA determines that continued use does not contribute
to antibiotic resistance affecting humans. It does not
restrict use of these antibiotics to treat sick animals.
More than 380 organizations, including more than 100
health groups, endorsed a similar bill in the last Congress.
The measure’s lead sponsor in the House of Representatives
is Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), ranking member of the
Commerce Health Subcommittee.