AFBF: FDA’s livestock antibiotic proposals based on theory

WASHINGTON—Citing a lack of data to support limiting antibiotic use in livestock, the American Farm Bureau Federation has told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it is concerned about proposals that would restrict antibiotic use based on unproven theory.

The AFBF submitted comments to the FDA on two proposals made by the agency earlier this year. According to FDA, it is taking action to help preserve the effectiveness of medically important antimicrobials for treating disease in humans. Farm Bureau counters that the FDA has not demonstrated whether the proposed actions will have any effect on antibiotic resistance.

There have been no peer-reviewed scientific studies to support a theory that judicious use of antibiotics in livestock increases antibiotic resistance in humans. In addition, there is no data to indicate that limiting antibiotic use in livestock decreases human health problems with antibiotic resistance.

“Antibiotics in livestock are currently used carefully in a highly-regulated process,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “FDA has and continues to exercise the authority to review every animal health product, including antibiotics, prior to approval, and at periodic intervals after the product is on the market. These regulatory and industry layers of protection are based on years of data collection, and products available to livestock caretakers today have gone through rigorous and continuous scientific testing.”

AFBF believes it is imperative that any new policies relative to antibiotics be grounded in data and reflective of modern animal agriculture production, Stallman said, asserting that limiting or eliminating animal antibiotic use in the livestock industry will have negative economic and animal health consequences.

“Food animal producers have relied on the benefits of antibiotics for many years to keep animals healthy, reduce environmental impact on land and resources, and provide consumers with an abundant supply of safe and affordable meat and poultry,” he said. “Any changes in availability of these products must be undertaken carefully to reduce unnecessary negative impacts to animals, producers and veterinarians.”

Contact Tracy Taylor Grondine, at 202-406-3642, or Cyndie Sirekis, at 202-406-3649, AFBF public relations.

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