(NaturalNews) A major manufacturer of antibiotic and arsenical chicken feed drugs has voluntarily requested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdraw approval for some of the combination varieties that the company has stopped manufacturing in recent years. In alleged compliance with the FDA's Judicious Use of Antimicrobials plan for improving the safety of factory animal feed, Phibro Animal Health Corporation decided to pull the drugs in response to escalating scrutiny of their combined effects on animal health and food quality, despite no real formative mandates from the FDA.
World Poultry reports that Phibro, of its own volition, recently petitioned the FDA to withdraw approval for both New Animal Drug Application (NADA) 098-371, which includes the use of nicarbazin, penicillin and roxarsone in a three-way, combination drug Type C used in animal feed for broiler chickens, and NADA 098-374, which includes nicarbazin and penicillin in a two-way, combination drug Type C used in similar feeding protocols. Both combination drugs have been approved and on the market for more than 40 years.
But the rise of deadly "superbugs," or mutated pathogens that no longer respond to standard treatments, has been staggering throughout the past decade, prompting many to call for moratoriums on the use of all antibiotics and arsenicals in animal feed. Dozens of public advocacy groups, including the Alliance for Natural Health USA and the Cornucopia Institute, have pleaded with the FDA to initiate strict bans on such drugs for the safety of the public and the health of factory farm animals.
Instead, the FDA decided to issue a non-binding guidance for drug companies to voluntarily withdraw antibiotics and arsenicals from animal feed, a definitive non-move that many prominent media outlets have repeatedly lambasted as useless. But now that the market is dictating that people no longer want to buy meat that contains antibiotics and arsenic, it appears as though some such drugs are being phased out voluntarily, no thanks to the FDA. In fact, Phibro's recent action in requesting that the FDA withdraw approval for its own drugs suggests that even some drug companies might be starting to have more sense than the FDA.
Drug companies continue to regulate themselves while FDA plays pretend
Or are they? According to a recent contribution posted at the Natural Resources Defense Council's Switchboard blog, Phibro apparently still plans to continue producing penicillin and other drugs for factory animal feed -- the company has simply switched its drug configurations around to make it seem like it is complying with the FDA's spineless guidelines for voluntary removal of antibiotics, which further proves the uselessness of the initiative.
"In addition to the two approvals that Phibro just withdrew for penicillin combined with non-antibiotic drugs in feed, the company also has another feed approval for penicillin used by itself for growth promotion in pigs and turkeys, along with chickens," writes Avinash Kar for Switchboard. "So Phibro is keeping open the option to sell penicillin for growth promotion in an even wider range of species while withdrawing combination approvals it was not even using."
In other words, the FDA's suggested guidelines for reducing and eliminating antibiotics likely did not even play a role in Phibro's recent decision, despite what the agency is now claiming. Rather, Phibro has always been in charge of steering its own ship, with the FDA simply posing as pseudo-captain to appease the masses.
"For FDA's plan to have any impact it has to change how antibiotics are used not just how they are labeled, and this action does not meet that goal," adds Kar.