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Superbug threat grows as regulator stops policing antibiotics in animal feed

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The day of the superbug has just got closer with the decision by health regulators to end compulsory restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animal feed.
America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it does not have the resources to enforce antibiotic levels in animal feeds, but instead wants the agri-business voluntarily to observe safe and reasonable usage.
Even with the FDA acting as policeman, 80 per cent of antibiotics sold in the US has been going into animal feed, which eventually enters the food chain. As we reported recently, 7 per cent of meat is infected by antibiotic-resistant MRSA, and is contributing to the evolution of the superbug.
As a concession to health groups, the FDA announced several days later that it is imposing tighter restrictions on the use of cephalosporin, a special class of antibiotic that is routinely injected into eggs and used to treat infections in cattle. In 2008, the FDA announced a complete ban on cephalosporin in cattle, but withdrew the proposal following a major outcry from agri-business.
However, cephalosporin use is small compared to penicillin and tetracycline, the two most common antibiotics put into animal feed and farm water.
(Sources: ANH-USA; New York Times, January 4, 2012; FDA Federal Register, Vol. 76, Issue 246).

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