Just as alarming is the FDA’s recent withdrawal for consideration of removing penicillin and tetracycline from animal feed. In 1977, the FDA issued two “notices of opportunity for a hearing,” which were put on hold by Congress until further research could be conducted.
But the FDA recently withdrew the decades old hearing requests.
Wired reports: “With no notice other than a holiday-eve posting in the Federal Register, the US Food and Drug Administration has reneged on its long-stated intention to compel large-scale agriculture to curb over-use of agricultural antibiotics, which it had planned to do by reversing its approval for putting penicillin and tetracyclines in feed.”
From the official posting:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) is withdrawing two 1977 notices of opportunity for a hearing (NOOH), which proposed to withdraw certain approved uses of penicillin and tetracyclines intended for use in feeds for food-producing animals based in part on microbial food safety concerns.1 … (1FDA’s approval to withdraw the approved uses of the drugs was based on three statutory grounds: (1) The drugs are not shown to be safe (21 U.S.C. 360b(e)(1)(B)); (2) lack of substantial evidence of effectiveness (21 U.S.C. 360b(e)(1)(C)); and (3) failure to submit required reports (21 U.S.C. 360b(e)(2)(A)).)
In the Federal Register, the FDA claims it will instead “focus its efforts for now on the potential for voluntary reform and the promotion of the judicious use of antimicrobials in the interest of public health.”
Bittman concludes the FDA has neither the budget nor the political support to mandate regulation, and adds: “The F.D.A. has no money to spare, but the corporations that control the food industry have all they need, along with the political power it buys.
“That’s why we can say this without equivocation: public health, the quality of our food, and animal welfare are all sacrificed to the profits that can be made by raising animals in factories.
“Plying ‘healthy’ farm animals with antibiotics — a practice the EU banned in 2006 — is as much a part of the American food system as childhood obesity and commodity corn.
“Animals move from farm to refrigerator case in record time; banning prophylactic drugs would slow this process down, and with it the meat industry’s rate of profit. Lawmakers beholden to corporate money are not about to let that happen, at least not without a fight.”
Europeans banned the use of antibiotics in livestock 7 years ago except to treat illness, and even the World Health Organization has linked resistant and killer bacteria to the regular and unnecessary use of antibiotics in industrial farming.
The only sure way to consume beef and poultry not raised on a steady diet of antibiotics is to buy organic meat. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives confirms organically raised poultry is safer to eat.
Researchers found the voluntary removal of antibiotics from large-scale U.S. poultry farms that transition to organic practices is associated with a lower prevalence of antibiotic-resistant and MDR Enterococcus.