Maryn McKenna (a.k.a., Scary Disease Girl) ruined my visions of FDA sugar plumbs with her story this morning on Wired – “News: FDA Won’t Act Against Ag Antibiotic Use.” Here is the sad bottom-line:
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….
In the Federal Register posting, the FDA represents this move not as a retreat, but as a change in tactics. It says:
FDA remains concerned about the issue of antimicrobial resistance. Today’s action should not be interpreted as a sign that FDA no longer has safety concerns or that FDA will not consider re-proposing withdrawal proceedings in the future, if necessary. FDA has not ruled out the prospect of future regulatory action, either with respect to the antimicrobial new animal drugs covered by the 1977 NOOHs or any others… This strategy leaves open the possibility of pursuing withdrawal proceedings at a later time if FDA’s proposed strategy does not yield satisfactory results.
Or, it simply might mean that the FDA bent to the will of the drug and meat industries.