Antibiotic Stewardship in Animal Agriculture Requires Defined Durations of Use
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented a federal policy in January 2017 making it illegal to use medically important antibiotics to promote animal growth and requiring veterinary oversight to add them to feed and water. This marked a milestone in ensuring that antibiotics are used judiciously on farms, which is essential to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria.
However, many medically important antibiotics can still be used legally in ways that do not meet FDA’s own definition of judicious use. For example, some antibiotic labels allow for very long or undefined durations of use, are approved for non-specific conditions such as to “maintain weight gains during times of stress,” or permit overly broad dosage ranges. FDA should act to address these problematic uses as soon as possible and ensure that all uses of these drugs in animals are under veterinary oversight and align with judicious use principles.
Further reading: PEWHealthy Animals