The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an order that prohibits certain uses of the cephalosporin class of antimicrobial drugs in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys effective April 5, 2012. FDA says it is taking this action to preserve the effectiveness of these drugs for treating disease in humans. Cephalosporins are commonly used in humans to treat pneumonia as well as to treat skin and soft tissue infections. Alternative drugs are not as effective or have greater side effects.
Antibiotic injections into unhatched chicken eggs are among uses prohibited by the order. FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey says the antimicrobial drugs can only be used to treat animal illnesses – under specific conditions, – and can’t be used for disease prevention. The ruling leaves untouched an older type of cephalosporin called cephapirin that FDA says is unlikely to fuel antibiotic resistance.
American Veterinary Medical Association official René Carlson is calling for caution in placing restrictions on antibiotic use in food animals. Carlson points out, – to restrict certain uses of antibiotics without careful consideration of the risks and benefits to both humans and animals removes a very valuable tool in the veterinarian’s medical bag for preventing and minimizing animal disease and suffering while also ensuring a safe and wholesome food supply.
NAFB News Service