Effective April 5, some restrictions will be placed on the use of antibiotics known as cephalosporins in livestock.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the restrictions on Wednesday, saying it was concerned that using the drugs in ways beyond those specified on the label may contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans.

Yet, the FDA’s impending rules are less restrictive than the total ban on extra-label use of cephalosporins the agency had considered in 2008 and places responsibility for prudent use of antibiotics in the hands of the veterinarian.

  • Dairy veterinarians can continue to use approved cephalosporins for those health conditions that have labeled approvals. For disease conditions not on the label, they can use cephalosporins as long as they utilize approved dosages, frequencies, durations and routes of administration.  
  • It continues to allow veterinarians to use their discretion and professional training when it comes to improving the health and well-being of animals.
  • Widespread debate still exists whether antibiotic use in livestock contributes to bacterial resistance that threatens humans.

To see some of the discussion of this issue from 2008, click here.