Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bacteria, CAFO's and What's For Dinner

I stumbled onto a tweet suggesting I comment on a new FDA ruling prohibiting "extralabel uses of cephalosporin antimicrobial drugs in certain food-producing animals."

The whole ruling sort of struck me as Orwellian absurd.

Here is my comment:

Packing animals into CAFO's and then "curing" their ills with antibiotics -- either as prophylactic or post-infection -- is irresponsible and inhumane. So, it seems pointless to comment on particular "off-label" uses of cephalosporin. Are we arranging deck chairs on the Titanic? End the use of antibiotics in feedlots entirely, and prevent animal infection by attacking the cause, not the symptoms: toxic CAFO's.

Here is the FDA's summary of ruling (FDA-2008-N-0326-0177):

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA, the Agency) is issuing an order prohibiting certain extralabel uses of cephalosporin antimicrobial drugs in certain food-producing animals. We are issuing this order based on evidence that certain extralabel uses of these drugs in these animals will likely cause an adverse event in humans and, therefore, present a risk to the public health.

Here is an excerpt from the ruling:

At this time, FDA is concerned that certain extralabel uses of cephalosporins in food-producing major species are likely to lead to the emergence and dissemination of cephalosporin-resistant strains of foodborne bacterial pathogens. If these drug-resistant bacterial strains infect humans, it is likely that cephalosporins will no longer be effective for treating disease in those people. The Agency is particularly concerned about the extralabel use of cephalosporin drugs that are not approved for use in food-producing major species because very little is known about their microbiological or toxicological effects when used in food-producing animals. Therefore, FDA is issuing an order prohibiting, with limited exceptions, the extralabel use of cephalosporins in food-producing major species because, as discussed in this document, the Agency has determined that such extralabel use likely will cause an adverse event and, therefore, presents a risk to the public health.

Isn't this horse out of the barn, so to speak? Should not the FDA issue a ruling restricting the (inhumane) use of CAFO's? Should they not the ban the sale of toxic meet crawling with bacteria (various bacteria infect a large proportion of what you buy and eat) and saturated with antibiotics?

If you eat meat, try to eat less. And try to buy the stuff that does not pass through CAFO's -- concentrated animal feeding operations.

Submit your comment to the FDA, by March 6, 2012, here:
New Animal Drugs; Cephalosporin Drugs; Extralabel Animal Drug Use; Order of Prohibition

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