U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz ruled March 22 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must start proceedings to withdraw approval of what the FDA currently refers to as “production uses” of penicillin and tetracycline in food-producing animals.  As part of the withdrawal process, manufacturers of the products can request hearings to allow manufacturers to provide scientific evidence that the production use of antimicrobial products does not pose a threat to public health.

In a recent news release, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reaffirmed its support for limited use of certain antimicrobials in food animals.  “The 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,” said AVMA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ron DeHaven in the news release. “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.”

DeHaven cautioned, however, that any decision to withdraw approval or ban any antimicrobial uses should be based on solid science and risk-based assessment and not on anecdotal reports and speculation.

NCC is waiting for FDA to release its guidance documents dealing with sub therapeutic antibiotic use and increase veterinary oversight.