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FDA Curbs Use of Certain Antibiotics in Livestock, Poultry
Date:1/5/2012

ichael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, said in an FDA news release.

Under the new FDA order, prohibited (extra-label) uses of cephalosporins in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys include:

  • unapproved dose levels, frequencies, durations, or routes of administration.
  • using cephalosporins that are not approved for use in those species but may be approved for humans or pets.
  • administering the drugs for disease prevention.

The order does not limit the use of cephapirin (Cefadyl), an older cephalosporin drug that's not believed to contribute significantly to antimicrobial resistance. Veterinarians will still be allowed to use or prescribe cephalosporins for limited extra-label use in cattle, swine, chickens or turkeys as long as they follow dose, frequency, duration and route of administration instructions on the label.

Extra-label use of the drugs will also be allowed in minor species of food-producing animals, such as rabbits or ducks.

"Cephalosporins are a widely used class of antibiotics that are vital in the treatment of a variety of human infections," Imperato noted. "Their widespread use in food-producing animals is usually undertaken in the interests of preventing certain infections in these animals. These infections in turn can delay animal growth as energy is expended fighting them off.

"However," he added, "the use of these antibiotics in animals also leads to the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Thus, the FDA decision is a very wise one that will help to prevent the emergence of bacterial resistance and thus assure that this class of antibiotics will continue to be effective for treating human infections."

A comment period on the new order of prohibition begins Jan. 6 and closes March 6. Comments submitted during that time will be considered before the new rules take effect April 5.

More information

The World Health Organization h
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