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Rev Sci Tech. 1997 Aug;16(2):709-15.

Therapeutic antibiotics in animal feeds and antibiotic resistance.

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Centre for Veterinary Medicine, United States Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland 20855, USA.


Recent statutory changes involving animal drugs are expected to facilitate the therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal feeds in the United States of America. The use of antibiotics in animal feeds is controversial due to the potential development of resistant bacterial pathogens in food-producing animals which are exposed to the antibiotics and the resultant public health risk. Zoonotic micro-organisms can be transmitted to humans through contact with animal populations, either directly or through the consumption of contaminated food. Recommendations to address the public health concerns include the strengthening of professional education in the areas of infectious diseases and the appropriate selection and use of antimicrobial agents, the development of a comprehensive food safety education programme for food-animal veterinarians and animal producers, and the development of surveillance programmes to monitor antimicrobial resistance among zoonotic pathogens. Early identification of emerging resistance can facilitate a timely and appropriate public health response.

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