Online Program

Antibiotics in food animals: Legal considerations

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Heather Horton, J.D., M.H.A., Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the General Counsel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA
Helen Jubran, J.D./M.P.H. Candidate, Dec. 2013, Emory Law School and Emory Rollins School of Public Health, Emory Law School and Emory Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
In 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in the case of Natural Resources Defense Council vs. the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ordered FDA to undertake mandatory proceedings to consider withdrawing approval of certain antibiotics used among food animals due to findings of antibiotic resistance. In its decision, the court ordered the FDA to hold evidentiary hearings on the safety of the antibiotics and imposed a timeline for FDA to conduct the hearings. This was an an important public health case because antibiotics are used on a widespread basis among food producing animals. These antibiotics are administered at low doses in order to promote rapid growth of animals raised for human consumption. Approximately 80% of all antibiotics in the U.S. are administered to animals. This use contributes to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Drug resistant bacteria enter the food supply through direct consumption of animal products and environmental transmission. Disease caused by resistant bacteria can be more virulent and difficult to treat, which presents a significant public health threat. FDA approves antibiotics for use in food-producing animals. Many of the antibiotics administered to food animals today were approved by FDA in the 1970s, prior to the implementation of a process that considers safety with respect to antimicrobial resistance. This talk will highlight the recent judicial attention to the issue, as well as discuss other potential legislative and regulatory approaches to addressing the use of antibiotics on farms.

Learning Areas:

Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the public health impact of antibiotics in food animals. Identify potential legal solutions to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals.

Keyword(s): Antibiotic Resistance, Animals and Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present on this topic because I am a law and public health student who has researched and written about the regulation of antibiotic use in farm animals. I plan to present my analysis of the history of regulation, public health implications of antimicrobial resistance, and recent legal developments of such antibiotic use.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.