The Food and Drug Administration said Monday the use of antibiotics in livestock should be limited to curing or preventing disease but not for growth promotion. The comments were delivered at a House hearing by Joshua Sharfstein, Principal deputy FDA commissioner, according to Reuters.
Sharfstein said by limiting the use of antibiotics in livestock, bacterial resistance against the antibiotics used in humans would also be reduced.
"FDA also believes that the use of medications for prevention and control should be under the supervision of a veterinarian," said Sharfstein. This would curtail non-prescription use of antibiotics by ranchers and farmers in livestock.
Groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists estimate 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used on livestock, in small doses that increase performance. Other groups dispute that saying the bulk of antibiotic use in livestock goes to disease prevention.
Sharfstein added that his testimony was a statement of FDA principles and there was no administration or FDA position on the bill. The bill being debated addresses the use of seven classes of antibiotics including penicillins, tetracyclines, macrolides, lincosamides, streptogramins, aminoglycosides, sulfonamides.