On December 22nd, The US Food and Drug Administration announced in the Federal Register its withdrawal from the longstanding proposal to regulate the use of antibiotics in animal feed.
According to a coalition of health and consumer organizations, the rise of drug-resistant infections in humans has been linked to the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed since the early 1970s.
Approximately 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to healthy farm animals at low doses to promote faster growth despite evidence that it breeds antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can be harmful to humans, states the coalition. The antibiotics, mixed into feed or water for livestock, are used at levels too low to treat disease, leaving surviving bacteria stronger and resistant to medical treatment.
FDA concluded in 1977 that feeding animals low-doses of certain antibiotics used in human medicine -- namely, penicillin and tetracyclines -- could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria capable of infecting people. However, despite this conclusion and laws requiring that the agency act on its findings, FDA decided against taking any action.
The FDA declares it is canceling two 1977 notices of opportunity because it is engaging in other ongoing regulatory strategies developed since the publication of the 1977 [notices] with respect to addressing microbial food safety issues. The FDA would update the [notices] to reflect current data, information, and policies if, in the future, it decides to move forward with withdrawal of the approved uses of the new animal drugs described in the [notices].
The FDA has also stated that it remains concerned about the issue of antimicrobial resistance and this should not be interpreted as a sign that FDA will not consider re-proposing withdrawal proceedings in the future, if necessary.
Source: Federal Registrar