In late November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked its ban on extra-label antibiotics used in rearing farm animals, particularly in intensive systems.
The ban was proposed last summer as an effort to curtail the spread of drug-resistant pathogens and public health risks largely associated with factory farms and their overuse of antibiotics. But the FDA quickly reneged on its recent crusade against extra-label drugs, due to a great deal of protest from powerful ag lobbies, and much to the chagrin of the American Medical Association and a spate of savvy consumers.
Extra-label drugs like cephalosporins are used to “treat” respiratory diseases in food-producing animals, but are deemed “extra-label” because they are only approved for human use or used to treat a condition for which they were not approved. Factory farms feed their animals drugs on a daily basis as a specious means of controlling or preventing clinical outbreaks of disease.
Scientists at universities including Johns Hopkins have argued time and again that the health repercussions of this practice could easily reach pandemic proportions, worse than the dreaded Avian Flu, SARS and Mad Cow Disease, to name a few.
If industrial ag is as worried about preventing infectious disease as it says it is, perhaps a cleanup of its horrifically unsanitary high-confinement conditions would be the best place to start.