On July 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule that prohibits the extra-label use of cephalosporin antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals, including cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys.  The rule is intended to protect consumers against antimicrobial-resistant strains of zoonotic foodborne bacterial pathogens.

By law, FDA may issue a prohibition order if evidence shows that extra-label use of a drug in food-producing animals has caused, or is likely to cause, a public health risk.  In this case, FDA has gathered evidence showing that the extra-label use of cephalosporins in food-producing animals is likely to contribute to the emergence of resistance and compromise human therapies. 

Given the importance of the cephalosporin class of drugs for treating disease in humans, FDA believes that preserving the effectiveness of such drugs is critical.  Therefore, FDA believes it is necessary to take action to limit the extent to which extra-label use of cephalosporins in food-producing animals may be contributing to the emergence of resistant variants.

Comments on the rule may be submitted until September 2, 2008.  The rule will go into effect on October 1, 2008.

For more information, click here.

Source: FDA