California Law To Stop Non-Medical Antibiotics For Farm
Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) has announced he will
legally requiring recently released FDA voluntary guidelines to phase out the non-medical use of antibiotics in farm
animals in California in order to combat “growing resistance to these vital
drugs. The bill will be introduced when the Legislature re-convenes on Jan. 6.
Under the legislation, farmers’ and ranchers’ use of antibiotics
to make animals grow bigger, a practice since the 1950s, would be illegal in
California. The bill would require food producers to obtain a veterinarian’s prescription
to use the drugs to prevent disease in their animals.
“With veterinary oversight, animal pro-dicers will still
be able to use medically important antibiotics for legitimate disease treatment
purposes,” according to the press release.
Drug manufacturers would have to change their labels to
prevent farmers from buying antibiotics over the counter and using them for
non-medical purposes. Again, the press release states, “Pharmaceutical and
livestock producers would be subject to penalties if they do not comply.”
At hand is the issue of disease-resistance from repeated exposure to antibiotics to
drugs such as penicillin and tetracycline that are used to treat common
bacterial infections in humans. Medically important antibiotics used in
food-producing animals are the same ones used in humans. Farms consume at least
70 percent of the nation’s antibiotic supply, and the FDA has approved at least
685 different drugs for use in animals.
This year, an outbreak of
antibiotic-resistant salmonella linked to three chicken plants in California
sickened nearly 400 people; 40 percent of those infected were hospitalized. Each
year antibiotic-resistant infections result in at least $20 billion in direct
health care costs and at least $35 billion in lost productivity.
"Antibiotic use in food
producing animals for non-medical reasons is a serious public health issue,”
Hill said. “My legislation is intended to ensure that medically important
antibiotics remain effective in treating bacterial infections in animals and
Sources: Office of
Senator Jerry Hill, Western United Dairymen, 12/20/13
Labels: California bill to Curb antibiotics for Farm Animals, drug resistance to farm antibiotics, Law to stop non-medical antibiotics for farm animals