CFS report addresses use of animal drugs in livestock farming.

  • The ongoing discussion about the use of antibiotics in farming has received renewed interest in light of recent actions by FDA and the state of California to curb routine antibiotic use.  Although recent regulatory and legislative action has focused primarily on antibiotics, other classes of drugs play a role in present-day agricultural practice.
  • A consumer safety group, the Center for Food Safety (CFS), has released a report intended to raise awareness about the use of various animal drugs in farming.  Specifically, the report addresses beta-agonists; antibiotics; steroid hormones; arsenicals (which will no longer be approved for use in animal feed); antioxidants; and cocciodiostats, concluding with a recommendation that FDA re-evaluate the safety of the use of these drugs in livestock farming and consider regulatory action to limit such use.  The report also urges states and localities to take action in this area, and encourages consumers to continue to apply market pressure.
  • The CFS report suggests that recent actions to limit the use of antibiotics may spur an increase in the use of other drugs used for growth promotion, although no data are provided to support this assertion.  The impact of this report remains to be seen, but it raises the question of whether stricter antibiotic regulation is just the first wave in reforming the use of animal drugs in modern farming, and if so, which drug class will be the next target?