California lawmakers propose antibiotics restrictions

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The FDA recently passed Guidance for Industry 213, calling on pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for food production purposes, such as to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency. Drug companies have indicated they will comply with the guidance. The agency also issued a proposed rule that would phase in veterinary oversight of the remaining appropriate therapeutic uses of such drugs.

Those actions are not enough though, for two California politicians who have introduced legislation to ban performance uses of antibiotics and further restrict their use for disease prevention in food animals.

Saying the FDA actions do not go far enough, State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) has introduced Senate Bill 835, which would FDA guidelines mandatory in California. In the state Assembly, member Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) introduced Assembly Bill 1437, which would ban use of antibiotics for production uses in livestock and add new restrictions to the use of antibiotics to prevent disease. Quoted in a California Health Line article, Mullin says "I'm concerned that, essentially, we're not getting at the core problem and would still have a high volume of antibiotics in the food supply" if preventive use is not restricted.”

Another Assembly member quoted in the article, Frank Bigelow (R-O'Neals), indicated the state should give the FDA’s policies time to work. "We already have an agency, the FDA [that] has the oversight powers, and we need to let them use those powers," he says.

Dave Daley, second vice president of the California Cattlemen's Association, also is quoted in the article saying producers have no interest in indiscriminate use of antibiotics, but need flexibility use them as needed.



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