FDA's new rule on livestock antibiotics a total joke: Voluntary limits won't work

Monday, January 20, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: FDA, antibiotics, factory farms

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(NaturalNews) You may have already heard about the new guidance recently issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning the use of antibiotics in commercial livestock, which on its surface appears to be a positive step forward for cleaning up the factory farm industry. But what you may not be aware of is the fact that this guidance is completely voluntary, meaning that factory farms have the option to choose whether or not they are going to comply with it.

This is the latest "greenwashing" scam to be perpetrated by an agency that is notorious for cozying up to big industry while stomping its regulatory boots on the little guy. As admitted on the FDA's own website, these new "rules" supposedly aimed at cutting antibiotic overuse on factory farms, the biggest culprits driving antibiotic resistance today, are entirely optional. With no legal mandate actually requiring any sort of antibiotic phase-out, the FDA guidance is essentially just a toothless showpiece that gives the illusion that the agency cares about the issue.

"FDA is issuing a final guidance document that explains how animal pharmaceutical companies can work with the agency to voluntarily remove growth enhancement and feed efficiency indications from the approved uses of their medically important antimicrobial drug products, and move the therapeutic uses of these products from over-the-counter (OTC) availability to marketing status requiring veterinary oversight," explains the FDA.

Put more simply, the FDA has really just issued a formal suggestion regarding the use of antibiotics on factory farms, one that cannot be enforced through the law, because, frankly, it is not really a law. After many decades of sheer denial that antibiotic overuse is even a major problem, the FDA is now hoping that its new suggestion will sway the public into thinking that it is finally taking action against a problem that it has known about for decades, but about which it has done nothing.

Many in mainstream media rejecting FDA 'guidance' as bogus

But quite a few people in positions of influence are not buying this charade. Businessweek's Charles Kenny, for instance, chastises the FDA in a recent piece for what he correctly identifies as the agency's "inaction" on the matter of antibiotic overuse. Using sharp and witty verbiage, Kenny credits the FDA with "making the world deadlier" as a result of its ridiculous guidance, which will only further spur antibiotic resistance and put more people at risk of contracting incurable infections.

"The FDA's response to the growing threat of antibiotic resistance is so inadequate that it makes sister agencies dealing with climate, financial instability, and trade challenges look all-powerful," he writes. "The FDA's inability to tackle the profligate and destructive use of a vital medical technology reflects a larger failure of international leadership to preserve the life-saving potential of antibiotics for the next generation."

Even USA Today, which is typically a mouthpiece for the establishment, declared the new FDA guidance to be "pathetically weak." Its editorial board, derisively referring to the new "guidance" in quotes, issued a public rebuke of the corrupt agency, inferring that this latest move by the FDA is more of a political stunt meant for public relations purposes than an actual policy change intended to instigate real change.

"Decades ago, this might have been viewed as an important first step," reads the editorial. "It's certainly more than the FDA has done in a generation -- but far less than is needed as bacteria grow hardier every day and drugs grow less effective. That's a scary story."

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