This Week's Poultry News Round-Up

ANALYSIS - FDA has announced it is to tighten the use of antimicrobials in farm animals, prohibiting the cephalosporins except in exceptional cases, writes Jackie Linden, senior editor of ThePoultrySite. This has been described as "a modest first step" to cut overall antimicrobial use but industry bodies have not welcomed the decision without reservation. Also in the news this week: the US economy has been upgraded, poultry meat prices are forecast to rise in Argentina and H5N1 bird flu has been found in poultry in India and Bhutan.
calendar icon 12 January 2012
clock icon 4 minute read

USDA Food and Drug Administration's recent decision to ban 'extra-label' or unapproved uses for certain antibiotics is a small step in the direction towards reducing the potential risk of antibiotic resistance in humans.

The order from the FDA, which comes into effect on 5 April this year, prohibits certain uses of the cephalosporin class of antimicrobial drugs in cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys.

The FDA says it is taking this action to preserve the effectiveness of cephalosporin drugs for treating disease in humans and prohibiting these uses is intended to reduce the risk of cephalosporin resistance in certain bacterial pathogens.

The Administration stressed that antimicrobial drugs are important for treating disease in both humans and animals. This new order takes into consideration the substantial public comment FDA received on a similar order that it issued in 2008, but revoked prior to implementation.

However, the new order only bans cephalosporin drugs at unapproved dose levels, frequencies, durations, or routes of administration and it prohibits using cephalosporin drugs in cattle, pigs, chickens or turkeys that are not approved for use in that species, e.g. cephalosporin drugs intended for humans or companion animals, and also bars the use of cephalosporin drugs for disease prevention.

Veterinarians will still be able to use or prescribe cephalosporins for limited 'extra-label' use in farm animals, provided they follow the dose, frequency, duration, and route of administration that is on the label. They may also use or prescribe cephalosporins for 'extra-label' uses in minor species of food-producing animals such as ducks or rabbits.

Even Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who is leading a campaign to prohibit the use of drugs that could cause antibiotic resistance in humans, described the FDA move at "a modest first step".

CME has upgraded the economic outlook in the US in 2012. Economist, Blu Putnam, says US economic improvements in 2012 will start with real GDP forecast to grow around 3.5 per cent to 4.0 per cent.

Poultry meat prices in Argentina are forecast to rise as the government ends subsidies on chicken and flour.

On 31 December 2011, the government of Argentina stopped paying subsidies to the poultry and flour milling industries – subsidies that were intended to keep prices at an acceptable level when they were introduced in 2007.

While the impact of the end of the subsidy on the price of chicken has yet to be determined, some estimates say that it will rise by 14 per cent. Producers feel they have no choice but to raise prices.

And finally, turning to this week's bird flu news, the H5N1 sub-type of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been confirmed in poultry in Odisha state in India, just days after the government announced the country was free of the disease. The same virus type has been found in poultry in Bhutan as well as wild birds in Hong Kong, while a low-pathogenic form has been found in Taiwan. A new report from the French agency, CIDRAP, stresses the need for vigilance to control bird flu in Africa.

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