Citing Human Threat, U.S. Bans a Poultry Drug - New York Times
- [EXCERPT: Margaret Mellon, director of food and environment at the
Union of Concerned Scientists, said, "It's the first time F.D.A. has
withdrawn a veterinary drug on the basis of antibiotic resistance
concerns, fearing that use of the drug in animals is going to erode
the effectiveness of the drugs in human medicine."]
July 29, 2005
Citing Human Threat, U.S. Bans a Poultry Drug
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON, July 28 (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration said
Thursday that it was banning the use of the antibiotic Baytril in
poultry because of concerns that it could lead to
antibiotic-resistant infections in people.
The agency's commissioner, Lester M. Crawford, ordered that approval
for use of the drug, known generically as enrofloxacin, be withdrawn
effective Sept. 12.
Baytril, manufactured by Bayer of Leverkusen, Germany, is in the same
family as the popular drug Cipro, which is used in humans.
Dr. Crawford cited particular concerns about campylobacter bacteria,
a growing source of serious illness in humans. Antibiotics used to
treat the bacteria can be less effective if the germ has already
developed resistance to Baytril, the agency said.
Margaret Mellon, director of food and environment at the Union of
Concerned Scientists, said, "It's the first time F.D.A. has withdrawn
a veterinary drug on the basis of antibiotic resistance concerns,
fearing that use of the drug in animals is going to erode the
effectiveness of the drugs in human medicine."
Campylobacter is commonly found in the intestinal tracts of turkeys
and chickens, where it does not generally cause illness, Dr. Crawford
said in his order.
Use of enrofloxacin in poultry does not eliminate campylobacter from
the birds, but instead results in the development of bacteria
resistant to this type of drug, he said.
Resistant bacteria may be present in poultry sold at retail outlets.
Dr. Crawford noted that since the drug was introduced for poultry in
the 1990's, the proportion of resistant campylobacter infections in
humans has risen significantly.
That can prolong the length of infections in people and increase the
risk of complications, he said. Complications can include reactive
arthritis and blood stream infections. A Bayer spokesman, Bob Walker,
said company officials were reviewing the ruling from a scientific
and legal position before deciding whether to appeal it.
Bayer has 60 days to appeal Dr. Crawford's decision to a federal appeals court.
According to the interest group Keep Antibiotics Working, many top
poultry producers have announced that they no longer use such drugs
in chickens produced for human consumption. Such producers include
Tyson, Gold Kist, ConAgra, Perdue, Foster Farms and Claxton.
Major chicken buyers, including McDonald's, Wendy's, Dairy Queen and
Burger King, have instructed their suppliers to stop using this class
of drugs in chickens they buy.