Tag Archives animal/pet meds

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the availability of guidelines recommending against the routine use of antibiotics in healthy animals. WHO cited a meta-analysis funded by the agency and reported in The Lancet concluding that interventions restricting antibiotic use could be effective in reducing antibiotic resistance. "Scientific evidence demonstrates that overuse of antibiotics in animals can contribute to the emergence of antibiotic resistance," a WHO representative said. "The volume of antibiotics used in animals is continuing to increase worldwide, driven by a growing demand for foods of animal origin, often produced through intensive animal husbandry.”

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study has criticized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) for their failure to ensure that imported seafood does not contain unsafe levels of antibiotic or other drug residues. According to the GAO, about 90 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported, and about half of imported seafood is raised on fish farms where producers treat fish to prevent infections and foodborne illnesses. GAO makes five main recommendations: (i) FDA should pursue agreements with exporting countries to test for “drugs of concern” and residue levels; (ii) FSIS should conduct onsite audits of fish farms instead of limiting visits to government offices, commercial food processing facilities and food testing labs; (iii) FSIS should require exporting countries to include residue-monitoring plans in equivalence determinations; (iv) FDA and FSIS should collaborate to develop…

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved an ordinance that will require certain grocery stores to report the use of antibiotics in raw meat and poultry. Scheduled to take effect in April 2018, the ordinance requires grocers that own or operate 25 or more stores to submit annual reports that include the purposes for which the antibiotics were used, the number of animals raised, the total volume of antibiotics administered and whether the use was “medically important.” Grocers who violate the ordinance may be subject to fines or imprisonment.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) has recommended that Sanderson Farms change a campaign claiming that its competitors are tricking consumers with "raised without antibiotics" labels on poultry products. NAD found that the information in Sanderson's ads was accurate, including its claim that "none of the chicken you buy in the grocery store has antibiotics in it. By federal law, all chicken must be clear of antibiotics before they leave the farm." However, NAD recommended that the language Sanderson used to describe its competitors' "antibiotic-free" labels, including "marketing gimmick," "full of hot air," "just a trick to get you to pay more money" and "a phrase invented to make chicken sound safer," should be changed, noting that the scientific community lacks a consensus on the safety of consuming meat from animals raised using antibiotics. Sanderson reportedly "respectfully disagrees" with the decision but will adjust the campaign to reflect NAD's concerns. "The…

Sanderson Farms, Inc.’s "all natural" chicken contains pesticides, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, according to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and Organic Consumers Association. Organic Consumers Ass’n v. Sanderson Farms, No. 17­-3592 (N.D. Cal., filed June 22, 2017). The plaintiffs allege that Sanderson’s chicken products are advertised as “100% natural,” but testing purportedly shows the products contain human and veterinary antibiotics, tranquilizers, growth hormones, steroids and pesticides. The complaint further alleges the presence of such drugs indicate that Sanderson’s raises its chickens in “unnatural, intensive­-confinement, warehouse conditions” rather than “sipping lemonade and playing volleyball” as represented in the company’s online advertising. For alleged violations of California consumer­ protection laws, the plaintiffs seek accounting of profits, injunctive relief, corrective advertising and attorney’s fees. “Consumers should be alarmed that any food they eat contains steroids, recreational or anti­-inflammatory drugs, or antibiotics prohibited for use in…

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a March 2017 report noting several oversight gaps in federal agencies’ efforts to track and curtail antibiotic use in food animals. According to GAO, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) have implemented several measures designed to reduce antibiotic resistance by increasing veterinary supervision of animal drug use; altering drug labeling guidance; and collecting data from food producers on their antibiotic regimens. But GAO notes that these initiatives fall short of the more stringent government regulations promulgated by Canada, Denmark and the European Union, which have reportedly achieved reductions in antibiotic use in food animals and improved data collection. “For example, changes to drug labels do not address long­term and open­ended use of antibiotics for disease prevention because some antibiotics do not define duration of use on their labels,” states GAO. “FDA officials told GAO they are seeking public…

A study has purportedly suggested that antibiotic treatments for foulbrood and other pathogens can disrupt the gut microbiota of honeybees, increasing their susceptibility to opportunistic bacterial infections. Kasie Raymann, et al., “Antibiotic exposure perturbs the gut microbiota and elevates mortality in honeybees,” PLoS Biology, March 2017. To examine the effects of common bee antibiotics, University of Texas researchers followed specimens from a single hive that received either sugar water or tetracycline. Their results evidently showed “that honeybees treated with antibiotics and returned to the hive had decreased survivorship when compared to untreated bees.” The authors further note, “Control bees had, on average, five times more bacterial cells in their guts than bees treated with tetracycline.” Tetracycline also failed to eliminate the targeted bacterial species in the treated bees, raising questions among the researchers about antibiotic resistance in domestic bee populations. “The aim of the study was for us to better…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has updated its guidelines on the documentation needed to support animal-raising labeling claims, which include “Raised Without Antibiotics,” “Organic,” “Grass-Fed,” “Free-Range” and “Raised with the use of hormones.” Among other things, the agency requires the following information to support such claims: (i) “a detailed written description explaining the controls used for ensuring that the raising claim is valid from birth to harvest or the period of raising being referenced by the claim”; (ii) “a signed and dated document describing how the animals are raised (e.g., vegetarian-fed, raised without antibiotics, grass-fed), to support that the specific claim made is truthful and not misleading”; (iii) “a written description of the product-tracing and segregation mechanism from time of slaughter or further processing through packaging and wholesale or retail distribution”; (iv) “a written description for the identification, control, and segregation of non-conforming animals…

Several consumer-protection groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), have filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to withdraw approval of seven antibiotics for disease prevention and growth-promotion use in livestock and poultry. “The use of medically important antibiotics in livestock production for growth-promotion or disease-prevention purposes is not shown to be safe,” the September 13, 2016, petition asserts. “FDA’s voluntary program will not end these drug uses. FDA must immediately begin proceedings to withdraw approval for these uses.” The day before the groups filed the petition, FDA announced a comment period about therapeutic uses of medically important antimicrobials. The agency seeks information about (i) “[t]he underlying diseases requiring these drugs for therapeutic purposes, and periods when livestock or poultry are at risk of developing these diseases”; (ii) “[m]ore targeted antimicrobial…

Government agency leaders, industry representatives, academics and public health advocates will gather in Washington, D.C., on June 3 for “Vote Food 2016: Better Food, Better Health.” Organized by the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, event sessions will target the next president’s food agenda, antibiotic resistance in livestock, sugar and obesity, and food insecurity, with the overarching goal of generating a “clear articulation of the range of legal and regulatory solutions [to health issues] available to whoever is elected in 2016.” The O’Neill Institute will later publish the conference proceedings and a related white paper.   Issue 603

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