The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) reports there is no public health risk from the use of cephalosporins in swine.

Recently, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the extra-label use of cephalosporins. FDA announced a withdrawal order for extra-label use of cephalosporins in food animals in July 2008, but the rule was withdrawn the following November and has not been reissued.

“It is our understanding that the FDA is currently working on the rule concerning the extra-label use of cephalosporins in food animals. The original proposed rule was quite broad and over-reaching, especially as it banned extra-label use of cephalosporins in swine,” remarks Tom Burkgren, DVM, executive director of the AASV.

He observes: “There is no data or evidence to suggest that the use of cephalosporins, extra-label drug use or otherwise, in swine posed a public health risk. We are hopeful that via a thoughtful and evidence-based approach the FDA will not limit the use of cephalosporins, which are important tools for the preservation of the health and welfare of pigs.”

A third-generation cephalosporin, ceftiofur, has been developed to treat respiratory disease in swine in the United States and has worldwide approvals to treat respiratory disease in swine, ruminants and horses.