‘A good first step’: Consumers Union welcomes FDA’s antibiotics action

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

‘A good first step’: Consumers Union welcomes FDA’s antibiotics action

Related tags: Antibiotic resistance

Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, welcomed the US Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) plan to help phase out the use of...

Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, welcomed the US Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) plan to help phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for food production purposes, but calls for more to be done.  

The use of antibiotics on food animals is a controversial practice and is reported to lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which has subsequent impacts on human health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued an alarming report, addressing and categorizing the threats of antibiotic resistance. Although it notes that the majority of drug-resistant infections occur in healthcare settings, concern is growing over antibiotic-resistant infections from food.

The CDC said: “Because of the link between antibiotic use in food-producing animals and the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, antibiotics should be used in food-producing animals only under veterinary oversight and only to manage and treat infectious diseases, not to promote growth.”

Commenting on the FDA announcement, Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union, said: “It’s a good first step down the path towards ending antibiotic overuse in animal agriculture and more than any administration has done in 37 years, but much more needs to be done to address disease prevention, track and report on antibiotic use.

“Consumers Union remains concerned that this is a voluntary guidance, with a three year window to see how it will be implemented. We have urged that these changes be mandatory, given how urgent the problem of antibiotic resistance is​.

Consumers Union also urges Congress to pass the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, which would stop the overuse of antibiotics on food animals.

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