Maryn McKenna wrote in Wired, “News: FDA Won’t Act Against Ag Antibiotic Use,” about the FDA’s withdrawal of two 1977 proposals to withdraw certain approved uses of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feeds because of the concerns over antibiotic resistant bacteria:
With no notice other than a holiday-eve posting in the Federal Register, the US Food and Drug Administration has reneged on its long-stated intention to compel large-scale agriculture to curb over-use of agricultural antibiotics, which it had planned to do by reversing its approval for putting penicillin and tetracyclines in feed….
FDA represents this move as a change in tactics because the agency lacks the resources to move forward with a regulatory ban. Instead, the FDA is hoping for voluntary reductions in risky uses of antibiotics in animal feed. In the Federal Register posting, the agency states, “FDA is optimistic that its proposed strategy to achieve the judicious use of all medically important antimicrobials, as set out in draft [guidance document], will be successful . . .” Perhaps after 34 years of failure, a new FDA strategy is needed.