UPDATE: FDA bans cephalosporin drugs in food animals

Federal regulators issue change amid concerns about antimicrobial resistance

July 3, 2008 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

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Washington — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule today that bans the extra-label use of cephalosporin antimicrobial drugs in animals used for food.

The ruling, effective Oct. 1, is designed to protect public health and applies to turkeys, chickens, cattle and swine. Due to an oversight pointed out by a VIN Member, sheep and all other food-producing animals also are included in the ruling, which FDA/CVM planned to amend at press time. 

The non-therapeutic use of cephalosporin in food animals likely contributes to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in humans, FDA contends. "Given the importance of the cephalosporin class of drugs for treating disease in humans, FDA believes that preserving the effectiveness of such drugs is critical," an agency news release says. 

FDA is accepting comments on the rule until Sept. 1. For more information, visit

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