Monday, April 16, 2012

Loophole Found in FDA Antibiotic Restriction Rule

Last week, Dan posted on the new FDA rule requiring prescriptions for antibiotics in farm animals. This rule is potentially significant since 80% of antibiotics in the US are used in animals, as mentioned in the referenced NYT article. Now an astute reading by Tom Philpott at Mother Jones picks out a potential loophole in the new FDA rule. 

Here is the quote from the NYT's article as I read it: "Michael Taylor, the F.D.A.’s deputy commissioner for food, predicted that the new restrictions would save lives because farmers would have to convince a veterinarian that their animals were either sick or at risk of getting a specific illness."

and...

Here is the quote as Tom Philpott read it: "Michael Taylor, the F.D.A.’s deputy commissioner for food, predicted that the new restrictions would save lives because farmers would have to convince a veterinarian that their animals were either sick or at risk of getting a specific illness."

That does seem like a pretty big loophole.  If pediatricians used the "at risk" determination for prescribing antibiotics, I think my kids would have been on them 24-7. You can read his full interpretation over at Mother Jones. As Dan mentioned last week, only time will tell. Since Mike Taylor said "we’re confident that it will result in significant reductions in agricultural antibiotic use," we probably should wait a bit before all becoming vegetarians.

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