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FDA refuses to withdraw approval of 'high risk' agricultural antibiotics that violate its own guidelines

Posted: January 30, 2014 |   Comments

( According to, 18 antibiotic additives that pose a "high risk" to human health have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the past 10 years for use in livestock and poultry.

As a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), based on information obtained from the FDA through the Freedom of Information Act, explains, these additives, which were in a group of 30 antibiotics reviewed for "nontherapeutic use" (which means boosting the health and growth rates of animals in unsanitary factory farms), should not be available today under current FDA guidelines. In fact, the "FDA concluded in their review that at least 26 of the reviewed feed additives do not satisfy even the safety standards set by FDA in 1973," the NRDC announced.

The overuse of antibiotics in agricultural production is contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are more deadly and harder to treat. Homeland Security News Wire notes that, even though the FDA recognized the risks of antibiotics in animal feed as far back as 1977, they have since fought court orders to withdraw approval for the drugs, which the agency proposed itself. In allowing this harmful practice to continue, the FDA is neglecting its duties to the American people and is complicit in creating and exacerbating a potentially disastrous public health issue.

"FDA continues to knowingly allow the use of drugs in animal feed that likely pose a 'high risk' to human health. That's a breach of their responsibility and the public trust," Carmen Cordova, NRDC microbiologist and lead author of the report said, according to News Wire. "This discovery is disturbing but not surprising given FDA's poor track record on dealing with this issue. It's just more overwhelming evidence that FDA - in the face of a mounting antibiotic resistance health crisis - is turning a blind eye to industry's misuse of these miracle drugs."

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