Sunday, July 1, 2012

cephalosporins in food animal production

Dear Friend,
The FDA is poised to stop the overuse of an important class of antibiotics by factory farms — but Big Ag is pushing back hard, and has stopped the FDA before. We have until Tuesday to go on the record in support of new limits to stop factory farms from abusing antibiotics.
Cephalosporins are a critically important class of antibiotics that are key to treating bacterial meningitis, salmonella, children, and the seriously ill in hospitals.
But factory farms and Big Ag companies are putting the effectiveness of cephalosporins at risk through overuse in livestock.
Today, factory farms give cephalosporins to almost all broiler chickens before they hatch, whether they have infections or not. Factory farms also use the drugs large-scale to fight infections in cows and pigs.
In the absence of FDA regulation, this off-label overuse has led to an increase in the development of cephalosporin-resistant bacteria in animal populations.
The links between antibiotic use in factory farming and the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria are clear. So it's simple: the more these drugs are used in animals, the less effective they will be in humans.
And because these drugs are especially important for treating children — they carry no warnings against pediatric use — the risk to our kids of cephalosporin-resistant bacteria is significant.
If we want antibiotics to work for us when we need them, we have to to stop their misuse and overuse in farming.
The FDA plan would limit the use of cephalosporins in food animal production. It's not the first time they've tried to put such a rule in place. An attempt in 2008 failed when the FDA was flooded with comments from veterinarians, farmers and drug companies opposing the ban. We need to make sure that doesn't happen again. The FDA clearly wants to act, but they need to be able to show that thousands of us are behind their actions.
The FDA's new rule against off-label uses of cephalosporin bans routine injections of cephalosporins into chicken eggs and large and lengthy dosing in cattle and swine, but allows smaller dosing under veterinary supervision and usage in animals like ducks and rabbits.
It is a small step but an important one, both in protecting this class of antibiotics and putting the brakes on the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming.
If the FDA can successfully regulate cephalosporins, it's a foothold to go after bigger wins, including finalizing a guideline proposed in 2010 focused on putting a stop to the use of antibiotics solely to promote growth or to compensate for animals' unsanitary living conditions.
Click below to submit a public comment before the Tuesday deadline supporting the FDA's recent decision to limit cephalosporin use in factory farming:
Thank you for taking action by Tuesday to fight dangerous antibiotic abuse by factory farms.
Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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