The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this morning it is implementing a voluntary plan to phase out the use of certain antibiotics for enhanced food production. FDA said it is working to address the use of "medically important" antibiotics in food-producing animals for production uses, such as to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency. FDA says such drugs are important because they also are used to treat human diseases and might not work if the bacteria they target become resistant to the drugs' effects.
FDA says because all uses of antimicrobial drugs, in both humans and animals, contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, it is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary. Governments around the world consider antimicrobial-resistant bacteria a major threat to public health. Illnesses caused by drug-resistant strains of bacteria are more likely to be potentially fatal when the medicines used to treat them are rendered less effective. "We need to be selective about the drugs we use in animals and when we use them," says William Flynn, DVM, MS, deputy director for science policy at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). "Antimicrobial resistance may not be completely preventable, but we need to do what we can to slow it down."
Link to question and answer fact sheet.
FDA is issuing a final guidance document that explains how animal pharmaceutical companies can work with the agency to voluntarily remove growth enhancement and feed efficiency indications from the approved uses of their medically important antimicrobial drug products, and move the therapeutic uses of these products from over-the-counter (OTC) availability to marketing status requiring veterinary oversight.
Flynn explains the plan is voluntary because it's the fastest and more efficient way to make changes. FDA is working with associations that include drug companies, the feed and animal production industries, as well as veterinarians and consumer groups.