On January 1, the rules for using antibiotics in food-producing animals changed. From now on, producers of food-producing animals can no longer buy feed-grade antibiotics over-the-counter, and drug manufacturers will no longer list growth promotion and feed efficiency on the labels of those antibiotics that are important for human health.
The practical effects of these rules are that food producers must have a veterinary prescription to buy feed-grade antibiotics. And veterinarians can no longer prescribe certain antibiotics for non-therapeutic purposes, such as growth promotion.
FDA’s rules apply to antibiotics that it has deemed important to human health only, such a gentamycin, neomycin, and tetracycline. They do not apply to injectable drugs.
States have also been active in this area. California was the first to pass legislation, effective January 1, 2018, to eliminate non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics – legislation that has since been overtaken by the federal guidelines. Maryland is considering a bill that would cover any antibiotic that is used in human beings, not just the antibiotics that appear on FDA’s list. And Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, have also considered veterinary antibiotic legislation over the years.
For more information on FDA’s guidelines, visit the FDA website here.