The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an updated rule that will limit the uses of cephalosporins in food animal production. This restriction is a victory for human health as it will help ensure this critically important class of antibiotics will continue to work to treat life-threatening infections today and in the future.
This is not the first time FDA has taken steps toward eliminating uses of cephalosporins in industrial farming. In 2008, the agency tried and failed to take similar action. That is why it is so important FDA receives public comments saying that this rule needs to be finalized in order to keep these critical drugs protected from overuse and misuse on industrial farms.
Although FDA has approved cephalosporins to treat some infections in food animals, currently the drugs often are administered in ways not explicitly approved by the agency. Many of the eight billion broiler chickens produced each year in this country are treated with cephalosporins in the absence of disease before they hatch—a practice that the FDA has not expressly approved.
First discovered more than 60 years ago, cephalosporins have become a vital class of antibiotics for treating people suffering from bacterial meningitis; infections associated with cancer; and infections of the bone, urinary tract and upper respiratory system. These drugs are especially important for treating children; unlike other antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones and tetracyclines, they carry no warnings or precautions for use in kids.
Please take a moment and send the comment below and tell the FDA to finalize this rule. It is important that the agency hears from the American people—those who rely on cephalosporins and other antibiotics to treat life-threatening diseases.