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FDA phasing out some antibiotic use in animal production

FDA phasing out some antibiotic use in animal production

JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS: Turkeys raised without the use of antibiotics are seen at David Martin's farm, in Lebanon, Pa. The same life-saving drugs that are prescribed to treat everything from ear infections to tuberculosis in humans also are used to fatten the animals that supply the chicken, beef and pork we eat every day. Farmers say they have to feed the drugs to animals to keep them healthy and meet America's growing appetite for cheap meat. But public health advocates argue that the practice breeds antibiotic-resistant germs in animals that can cause deadly diseases in humans. Photo: Associated Press/Matt Rourke

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it planned to phase out the use of some antibiotics in animals used for food, to prevent bacteria from becoming resistant to drugs used to treat humans.

In guidance issued on Wednesday, the FDA asked pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily revise labels of medically important antibiotics to remove references to use in animal production.

“Because antimicrobial drug use in both humans and animals can contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, it is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary,” the FDA said in a release.

The FDA said its plan focuses on antimicrobial drugs that are important for treating human infection and which are approved for use in feed and water of food animals.

The agency on Wednesday issued a “final guidance,” directing animal health companies to voluntarily remove animal-production uses from the labels of their medicines. Moreover, the guidance will bring the drugs under oversight of veterinarians by changing the over-the-counter status of the products.

The FDA said it will require animal pharmaceutical companies to notify the agency within three months of their intent to adopt its strategy. The companies would then have three years to complete the transition process.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson and Esha Dey in Bangalore; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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