Would You Like A Side of Antibiotics With Your Entree?

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Patrick Stone, President, TradeStone QA

Not many people are likely to sit down at their favorite restaurant and ask if the antibiotics are good today. But we can’t always assume we know what’s in our food. To help us feel a little better, the FDA last month took steps to help reduce the use of antibacterial substances in feedlot animals.

These steps include:

  1. A final guidance for industry, The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals, that recommends phasing out the agricultural production use of medically important drugs and phasing in veterinary oversight of therapeutic uses of these drugs.
  2. A draft guidance, open for public comment, which will assist drug companies in voluntarily removing production uses of antibiotics from their FDA-approved product labels; adding, where appropriate, scientifically-supported disease prevention, control, and treatment uses; and changing the marketing status to include veterinary oversight.
  3. A draft proposed Veterinary Feed Directive regulation, open for public comment, that outlines ways that veterinarians can authorize the use of certain animal drugs in feed, which is important to make the needed veterinary oversight feasible and efficient.

The CDC and many local health organization have released numerous statistics on human deaths related to antimicrobial drug resistant bacterial strains which are staggering. Can the food industry help prevent the process of selecting for a super-strain bacteria?

The FDA has previously provided comments and testimony on the use of antibiotics by physicians and health care organizations.These education efforts promote patient education and proper use of a prescribed drug product. The idea is to limit the selection of drug resistant strains of bacteria.

The global health focus will continue to be in the fight against bacterial and viral infections. We must limit practices that select for these super-strain bugs and find innovative ways to limit bacterial infection.  Sprout and other vegetable producers have also used antibacterial substances in their farming practices. The resulting food borne outbreaks have resulted in super-strain bacteria related deaths and hospitalization.

We must all be aware of the impact in our food choices and sustainable food production methods.  Make sure to read your labels and support your local farms. Visit your farmer’s market and ask questions about their farming practices.  Your grocery store list will dictate what the grocery store will provide. We are responsible for helping reduce antibacterial resistant superbugs through our food choices.

Remember, you are what you eat! Know thyself!

Patrick Stone is the author of Bubble Gum Badge – An FDA His-Story. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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Would You Like A Side of Antibiotics With Your Entree?
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Would You Like A Side of Antibiotics With Your Entree?
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Not many people are likely to sit down at their favorite restaurant and ask if the antibiotics are good today. But we can’t always assume we know what’s in our food.
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