Are the FDA Rules enough? No.

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Credit: Scott Brundage

The Keep Antibiotics Effective Act closes an important loophole that the FDA left open in its recently finalized rules. These rules phased out uses of antibiotics to make animals grow fatter. But it still allowed antibiotics to be used to prevent disease.

Preventing disease sounds like a good thing. And it is. That’s why we wash our hands, take vitamins, vaccinate our kids.

We prevent disease to avoid using antibiotics. We don’t take antibiotics to prevent disease.

But this is what many factory farms in Maryland do. They will feed medically important antibiotics to animals for “disease prevention.” This term is short hand for feeding routine, low doses of antibiotics to animals that are not sick to compensate for the crowded, stressful conditions they live in or poor diets.

 

Why is this a problem?

Both growth promotion and disease prevention uses are routine and low dose. Many times, disease prevention doses are the same as, overlap with, or are very similar to growth promotion doses.

Even by banning growth promotion uses, FDA is still allowing dangerous low dose, routine use of antibiotics to continue under the guise of preventing disease.

This exact problem is what the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act addresses. It closes this loophole in the FDA rules and stops the routine, low dose use of antibiotics on animals that are not sick.

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