On March 22, 2012, United States Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must start proceedings to withdraw approval of what the FDA currently refers to as “production uses” of certain classes of antibiotics (penicillins and tetracyclines) for food-producing animals. Public evidentiary hearings will be held prior to final withdrawal orders, if requested by the manufacturers of the products, to allow the manufacturers to provide scientific evidence that the production use of the antimicrobial products does not pose a risk to public health.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) acknowledges the growing concern regarding antimicrobial use and resistance in animals and people, and supports the judicious use of antimicrobials to maximize public and animal health benefits while minimizing risks. The judicious use of antimicrobials plays a key role in preserving the health of our nation’s food animals and the safety of our nation’s food supply. Many agree that there is a need for greater veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in food-producing animals, and the AVMA is currently working with the FDA to develop practical means to increase this veterinary oversight
However, federal policies and any decision to withdraw approval or ban any antimicrobial uses should be based on solid science and risk-based assessment, and not anecdotal reports and speculation. It is crucial that safe and effective antimicrobials remain available for use in veterinary medicine to ensure the health and welfare of animals and, consequently, the health of humans. The AVMA will continue to work closely with the FDA to formulate a sound, science-based strategy for antimicrobial use to maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks to animal and human health.