California senate advances bill to curb antibiotics in farm animals

SAN FRANCISCO Fri May 2, 2014 5:24am IST

Related Topics

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The California State Senate advanced a bill on Thursday to restrict the use of antibiotics in farm animals for growth enhancement by requiring that the drugs be sold by prescription for medical reasons only, officials said.

The first-in-the-nation legislation would codify into law voluntary U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, issued late last year, aimed at stemming a surge in resistance to certain antibiotics in humans, according to state Senator Jerry Hill, the bill's author.

"The more antibiotics are used, the more resistance will develop," Hill, a Democrat, said in a statement. "This is an emergent public health issue."

Antibiotic resistance, which can cause humans to lose the ability to fight infections, is thought to be caused partly by the prevalence of the drugs in animal products. Some 70 percent of antibiotics used by humans are also administered to farm animals, Hill said, citing an independent analysis of FDA data.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 2 million people are infected annually with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Some 23,000 people die "as a direct result of the infections," the report said.

Hill's legislation would require that antibiotics be sold with a veterinarian prescription and that antibiotic manufacturers label the drugs to show that they require prescriptions.

But the measure would apply only to antibiotics used by humans, including tetracycline and penicillin, and would not restrict drugs used solely for animals.

Current state law does not restrict the use of antibiotics to produce bigger, fatter animals or require veterinarian prescriptions for the drugs to be sold, Hill's office said.

   "The livestock farmers and ranchers want to make sure antibiotics remain effective," said Noelle Cremers, director of Natural Resources and Commodities at the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Passed by a 34-1 senate vote, the measure will now head to the state assembly for another round of votes. If approved, California would be the first state to ban human-used antibiotics on farm animals without a prescription, Hill's office said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Richard Chang)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Encephalitis in India

REUTERS SHOWCASE

No Relief

No Relief

Paracetamol no better than placebo for low back pain, study finds.  Full Article 

Fighting AIDS

Fighting AIDS

Bill Clinton says AIDS-free generation 'within reach'.  Full Article 

Obamacare Enrollment

Obamacare Enrollment

Over 10 million U.S. adults gain coverage under Obamacare: study.  Full Article 

Quality Issue

Quality Issue

Ipca halts U.S. shipments from Ratlam plant after FDA finds violations.  Full Article 

Financial Cost

Financial Cost

Abuse of U.S. generic-drug rules costs billions: report.  Full Article 

Fitness Hooping

Fitness Hooping

Hoopsters put circus-inspired spin on cardio workout.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage