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? 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 of
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.

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