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NCL statement on the new FDA limits on antibiotic use in livestock

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January 5, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Washington, DC—Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League (NCL), issued the following statement today applauding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for banning the extralabel (“extralabel” means use of a drug for a purpose not intended when the drug was originally developed) use of a class of antibiotics, cephalosporin,  in livestock.

“NCL applauds FDA for issuing an order of prohibition regarding cephalosporin antibiotics.  Use of these medications in cattle, swine, turkeys and chicken will now be limited.  The order will go into effect on April 5, 2012.

80% of antibiotics used in this country are administered to livestock, not only when the animal is ill but also, unfortunately as a prophylactic measure against possible infections. This vast overuse of antibiotics in livestock has been mirrored by an increase in antibiotic resistant- disease-causing bacteria.  The trend means that we have fewer treatment options to treat sick patients, leading to higher health costs and sadly, more patients succumbing to illnesses caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Cephalosporin drugs many important applications in treating human infections and illnesses. A reduction in the use of these antibiotics in animals will be enormously helpful in reducing antibiotic resistance in humans and in treating disease.

NCL applauds FDA for its actions in limiting the use of cephalosporin in livestock.  This is an important first step toward reducing antibiotic use across the board in animals. NCL urges FDA to continue studying the issue and to take steps to limit the livestock applications of other drugs important to treating human illnesses.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.