In a recent meeting with consumer advocates, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicated it is negotiating with a manufacturer of antimicrobial products for use in food animals to remove growth promotion as a labeled use for one antibiotic.

The Obama administration earlier this year proposed to phase out the use of antibiotics to promote growth in hogs and other livestock, according to the Des Moines Register. The administration is concerned that such usage is increasing drug-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.

FDA officials told the consumer advocates it prefers a voluntary approach over the lengthy legal process of restricting the drugs' use, said Steve Roach of Food Animals Concerns Trust. The agency "seemed quite confident that some company was getting close to doing something," he said.

FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey declined to comment on the discussions with drug makers beyond saying that the agency "indicated we wanted to work with companies, veterinarians and the industry to minimize use of medically important antimicrobials."

Some doubt whether the agency has sufficient scientific basis to force the companies to ban the growth promotion uses, said Ron Phillips, vice president of legislative and public affairs for the Animal Health Institute, a trade group for the drug makers.

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Source: PORK magazine, Des Moines Register