FDA Announces Ban of Certain Uses of Cephalosporins in Poultry; NCC Questions Science Behind Move

January 4, 2012

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that it intends to ban certain uses of cephalosporin antimicrobials in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys beginning April 5, 2012.  The announcement will appear in the Jan. 6, 2012, Federal Register and according to FDA, stakeholders will have until March 6, 2012, to submit comments to FDA.  National Chicken Council Vice President of Communications Tom Super issued the following statement regarding the announcement:

“Antibiotics are a valuable tool in ensuring animal health and in producing wholesome food for the consuming public.

“Antibiotics are used sparingly in chicken production, and only if they are approved by the FDA.  A majority of the antibiotics, such as Ceftiofur, are not used in human medicine meaning the threat of creating resistance is essentially reduced to zero.

“Consumers should know that chicken is safe, wholesome and that all chicken produced in the United States is inspected by the USDA.  Inspectors test meat samples for chemical and antimicrobial residues – poultry must be in compliance with USDA standards.  When antibiotics are used in chicken production, strict withdrawal periods must be followed before the birds are processed for food.  Chicken consistently has the best record of any product tested by USDA.

“We share the concerns of others that FDA’s rule on extralabel drug use will take medical decisions to treat animals out of the hands of veterinarians.  We question any substantive link or scientific basis between veterinary use of cephalosporins and antibiotic resistance in humans.”

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