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Michael San Filippo
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

  1/6/2012

 AVMA responds to federal order limiting use of antibiotics in food animals

Schaumburg, IL — The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced today that the FDA's order prohibiting certain uses of cephalosporins in food animals appears consistent with the current AVMA position on the limited prohibition on extra-label drug use, but warned against further restrictions not backed by science.

Cephalosporins, a class of antimicrobial drug used in livestock, poultry and other food-producing animals, are also commonly used in humans to treat pneumonia and a wide range of skin and soft tissue infections, urinary tract infections and inflammatory disease. The FDA said it is limiting the use of cephalosporins in animals to preserve the effectiveness of the drugs for treating disease in humans and reduce the risk of cephalosporin resistance in certain bacterial pathogens.

"The AVMA is pleased that the FDA reviewed and thoughtfully considered the many comments received from stakeholders, including veterinarians, while taking action to preserve the effectiveness of cephalosporin drugs for treating disease in humans," said Dr. René Carlson, AVMA president. "Veterinarians are committed to improving the health and welfare of people, animals and the environment, and we hope the FDA's order will allow veterinarians to have therapeutic options for food animals while also protecting public health."

The AVMA is evaluating the prohibition of cephalosporins for preventive uses and will submit a response to the FDA during the comment period. The AVMA has a strong position which underscores the importance of veterinary access to antimicrobials for preventive use to enhance food safety, public health and animal welfare.

"We are committed to the judicious use of antimicrobials in food animals," said Dr. Carlson. "While this measure appears to be consistent with our position, we will continue to review any further restrictions to make sure they are backed by science and don't place arbitrary and ultimately harmful limits on veterinarians' ability to treat animals and ensure a safe and healthy food supply."

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