Thursday, August 11, 2011
Limiting Use of Antibiotics in Food Animal Production After Recall of 36 Million Pounds of Turkey Containing Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella
Finding antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in ground turkey prompted Cargill's 36 million pound turkey recall. It also triggered a new sense of urgency on the part of lawmakers to encourage the FDA take action on a draft guidance, "The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals," otherwise known as "Guidance #209."
Previously blogged about here and here, recent estimates indicate around 80 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are given to food animals causing a huge and growing problem with antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to Food Safety News,
Guidance #209, as it was released last summer, recommends two principles: (1) The use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals should be limited to those uses that are considered necessary for assuring animal health, and (2) The use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals should be limited to those uses that include veterinary oversight or consultation.
The letter from the lawmakers urges that the FDA make "speedy progress forward" on Guidance #209 regulations to help preserve the efficacy of antibiotics for human health:
We recommend that you strengthen Guidance #209, finalize it quickly, and move on to regulations. Given the rise of antibiotic resistant pathogens, we cannot wait any longer for the finalization of Guidance #209.