Judge to FDA: Remove Superbug-Breeding Antibiotics from Animal Feed
A federal judge has stepped up to the plate and is now ordering FDA regulators to start proceedings to revoke the approval for the use of common antibiotics in animal feed, stating that the excessive overuse of antibiotics is threatening public health through breeding drug-resistant superbugs. The news could not have come at a more appropriate time, after it was just recently revealed that antibiotic overuse has actually spawned a resistant ‘white plague‘ that threatens the health of individuals worldwide. Thanks to the countless unnecessary prescriptions of antibiotics dished out in nations like India, a heavily drug-resistant form of tuberculosis has scientists concerned over a potential pandemic.
United States Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz ordered the FDA to begin with the initiative unless the drug manufacturers can prove that their usage in the food supply is safe. It would be highly unlikely that the drug makers could produce evidence showing that the antibiotic consumption is safe, considering that antibiotics have been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and even skyrocketing mental illness rates. This is in addition to creating massively resistant superbugs that are considered to be impossible to treat by mainstream medicine.
The Independent reports:
Using standard antibiotic regimens, there is a one in 10 chance that treatment of an E.coli infection will fail because the bug is resistant. But, as numbers of resistant infections rise, there will be increasing pressure to use more powerful antibiotics, called carbapenems, which are the last line available. And resistance to those is already emerging…The warnings follow increasing reports from Europe of patients with infections that are almost impossible to treat.
It is for this reason that groups have sued the FDA over the use of antibiotics in animal feed, citing legitimate safety concerns. In a lawsuit led by both environmental and health-advocacy groups, the organizations allege that he FDA knew years ago that loading up livestock full of penicillin and tetracyclines (the 2 antibiotics in question) was causing bacteria to become resistant to drugs that humans rely upon to fight infections. The result? The development of such superbugs and mutated viruses. Shockingly, the group also reported on a particularly worrying statistic showing just how many antibiotics are given to livestock and subsequently consumed by the public. “Approximately 80% of all antibiotics used in the United States today are used in livestock,” the group explained in the suit.
Drug-resistant infections not only wreak havoc on public health, but cost American taxpayers more than $20 billion each year, according to a 2009 study from the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics and Cook County Hospital. There’s simply no reason to continue the dangerous practice of dosing up livestock with antibiotics. Judge Katz explains:
“In the intervening years, the scientific evidence of the risks to human health from the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock has grown, and there is no evidence that the FDA has changed its position that such uses are not shown to be safe,” wrote the Magistrate Judge.
Natural Society staff contribution