California passes legislation to curb use of antibiotics in livestock.

  • As previously covered on this blog, concerns about the use of antibiotics to promote growth or feed efficiency in food-producing animals continue to proliferate.  FDA has requested voluntary industry efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock and has proposed to expand data collection in this area.  FDA also has issued a final rule requiring veterinary supervision of antibiotic use in food-producing animals.
  • California now has passed legislation to curb the use of antibiotics in livestock.  Consistent with federal actions in this area, the state law requires a veterinarian’s prescription to permit the use of medically important antibiotics in livestock and prohibits the use of such antibiotics solely for purposes of promoting weight gain or improving feed efficiency.  The law also requires state agencies to collaborate in developing a monitoring program to evaluate information regarding the use of medically important antibiotics, antimicrobial resistance, and livestock management practices.
  • California has become the first state in the U.S. to ban the routine use of antibiotics in livestock.  The legislation received little to no opposition from state meat and poultry associations, which is indicative of its consistency with existing efforts to phase out antibiotics.  Particularly in light of recent high-profile announcements by major restaurants and suppliers to stop selling chicken raised with antibiotics, it appears that marketplace pressures will continue to work in conjunction with federal, state, and industry efforts to curb antibiotic use.