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USDA, World Health Organization butt heads over use of antibiotics in agriculture

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The Trump administration is resisting the World Health Organization’s effort to sharply limit antibiotic use in farm animals…

The WHO guidelines — released in November…called for an end to giving medically important antibiotics routinely to healthy animals to promote growth or prevent disease. The United Nations agency said the drugs should be administered only to sick animals or healthy ones being raised near them, in the same flock, herd or fish population. Even then, drugs “critically important for human medicine” should not be used.

The Agriculture Department termed the effort shoddy science and one that the U.S. and other countries should have had a voice in developing. (The WHO kept country representatives out of the process to avoid potential conflicts.) U.S. policy bans antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals but still allows the drugs to be given to healthy animals to prevent disease with a veterinarian’s approval.

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A few months earlier, at an international food-standards meeting, Mary Frances Lowe, a USDA trade official, argued that other international agencies had more expertise to provide farm advice than the WHO did.

Meghan Rodgers, the USDA’s press secretary, reiterated Lowe’s comments and said the WHO should have waited until agencies with expertise in agriculture and animal health endorsed the guidelines or should have collaborated with them in the first place.

Read full, original article: Trump’s USDA Fights Global Guidelines on Livestock Antibiotics

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