The US Food and Drug Administration announced the creation of a voluntary recommendation that stops drugs from being used in livestock across the country on Wednesday. Microbes are increasingly resistant to antibiotics given to animals, and the FDA’s plan will phase out the use of drugs through cooperating with the animal health industry. They hope to improve feeding efficiency as well as enhance growth rates. The overuse of antibiotics in the meat and poultry industry has been an issue in the industry for a long amount of time, and dangerous bacteria such as Staphylococcus are given the chance to grow whenever the drugs are used in livestock. Despite this on-going problem, these drugs were continually added to animal feed and water to fatten animals. The FDA will now request that pharmaceutical companies provide antibiotics for the farming industry and limit the amount of drugs to those that are medically required. They will also allow veterinarians the oversight to make sure these drugs are used to treat illnesses only and not livestock growth rates.
Animal pharmaceutical companies can participate voluntarily, and approved authorities can use the drugs for approved cases once the recommendations are put into effect. The companies Zeotis and Elanco currently have the biggest share of the animal antibiotic market, and they said they will join in efforts instituted by the FDA. They agreed with the FDA they would take initiative to lower the number of antibiotics found in livestock, also mentioning there will be more to do since this is the first time they have made strides in limiting antibiotics 1977. Some believe the changes are too little, too late, and will not address all the problems with the industry. The use of a voluntary recommendation will not make a difference, and just addresses some of the antibiotics used in animals who aren’t ill. A representative for the FDA said they think the voluntary method is the most effective way to get fast results, because a mandatory system involves many regulations that could take longer to go into effect. The FDA will request that companies notify them if they plan to use the new guidelines in the next three months. Companies have three years for labeling changes into effect. This requires a veterinarian to provide oversight if the drugs are necessary to treat illness, and that drugs would no longer be used in production, according to news reports.