Attempts to recall and ban the use of antibiotics in livestock feed are not supported by U.S. pork producers, says National Pork Producers Council Animal Health and Food Security Policy Chairman Malcolm De Kryger.

“These efforts would override a strict, science-based regulatory process currently in effect at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” adds De Kryger. “We stand behind the rigorous FDA process that ensures the safety and usefulness of antibiotics to protect the health of U.S. livestock.”

Pork producers are concerned access to antibiotics could become restricted. Five medical and environmental groups filed a petition with FDA to withdraw approvals for seven classes of antibiotics used as livestock feed additives.

The petition suggests that use of the feed additives fails to comply with the safety criteria in FDA’s guidance on agricultural antibiotics (Guidance No. 152). The FDA document says that a ban on antibiotic use should be based on a risk assessment that weighs risks and benefits to animal and human health.

NPPC is also worried that legislation could block development of new drugs to deal with emerging animal diseases. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sponsor the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2005.

“Without access to antibiotics, a swine herd could potentially be wiped out by disease, which could in turn spread to other farms,” observes Harry Snelson, DVM, NPPC director of science and technology. “A peer-reviewed study published by a panel of human and veterinary experts in 2004, finds little evidence that antibiotic use in animals has a significant impact on human health.”