Mar 29

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Various groups and individuals representing animal agriculture and the animal health industries feel FDA has failed to substantiate, on a scientific basis, a human health hazard resulting from fluoroquinolone use in poultry. In written comments filed with the agency, industry has told FDA it believes its action was based on unfounded assumptions, selective data and inappropriate risk assessments.

The issue of antibiotic resistance, including that being associated with fluoroquinolone use in poultry, is definitely a sensitive and far-reaching matter. It is an issue that concerns those producing meat products as well as those consuming them. Nevertheless, the points industry raises should not be ignored or simply brushed aside, for if they hold true, FDA could actually be putting more consumers at risk by banning fluoroquinolone use in poultry then by allowing the antimicrobial to remain on the market. There’s no question poultry producers and the birds they raise will suffer from the product’s removal.

Much of the difference of opinion that exists between FDA and industry surrounds the assessment of risk in regard to fluoroquinolone use in chickens and fluoroquinolone-resistant campylobacter in humans. Both sides believe the use of antibiotics in humans or animals could eventually result in the development of resistance or the creation of conditions that allow the expression and recognition of resistance genes that existed prior to antibiotic use. The unknown is the degree to which this has already occurred with campylobacter in poultry and whether an unacceptable risk is created when compared with the risks resulting from the withdrawal of therapeutic uses of enrofloxacin in poultry. As pointed out by the American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) and others, these risks include reduced animal health and welfare …