Implementation of The Food and Drug Administration’s judicious use policy means medically important antibiotics will be used in food animals only to fight disease under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. There is no loophole.
The Pew report alleging that growth promotion uses might continue is wrong. There are 82 growth promotion claims that will be removed from the labels of medically important antibiotics. Of those approved applications with growth promotion claims, only 17 also have prevention claims on their product labels, and in none of those 17 instances are the dose and duration of use the same for the growth claim and prevention claim. In short, growth promotion uses of medically important antibiotics are being eliminated under the FDA policy. Such use going forward would be illegal.
Disease prevention remains a central goal of both human and veterinary medicine. FDA-approved prevention claims on antibiotics used in food animals specify a disease or a bacterium being addressed by the antibiotic, a specific dose and frequently a specific duration of use. They are targeted claims and veterinarians can only specify their use when there is evidence for the disease or bacterium. It is basic physiology that preventing disease, in combination with proper nutrition, allows animals and humans to physically reach their genetic potential.
AHI and its member companies are working hard with FDA, customers and other stakeholders to fully implement the judicious use policy within FDA’s timeframe of December, 2016. Full implementation will create significant and meaningful change in the way antibiotics are used in food animals, and we invite all stakeholders to assist in these efforts to successfully implement this new policy.