FDA filed a response this week to our May 2011 lawsuit seeking to compel the agency to protect the public by addressing the unnecessary use of antibiotics on healthy animals, which is linked to the rise of drug-resistant infections in humans.
Our lawsuit points to FDA’s own scientific findings 35 long years ago that such use of antibiotics in animal feed is not shown to be safe and may pose a risk to human health, compelling FDA to do something about this public health threat. Notably, the agency's response and arguments do not address the science. The human health threats remain undisputed. See FDA’s response here.
This continues the pattern of FDA evading the central issue in giving low doses of antibiotics to healthy animals on a massive scale: the looming public health threat of the rise in antibiotic resistance associated with that practice. An astonishing 80% of all antibiotic sales in the US are for use in livestock, most of it on healthy animals. Even as public health agencies and medical groups warn about the public health risks of the practice, and even as FDA itself acknowledges the risks of antibiotic resistance from such use, FDA’s arguments in its response ignore the heart of the matter. FDA’s charge is to protect public health and it should be doing everything it can to ensure that antibiotics—one of medicine’s most important life-saving advancements—continue to remain effective for people and work when we need them most. Instead, FDA continues to find excuses not to act. NRDC and our partners will continue to fight to get FDA to put the health of people first.