USDA officials are reportedly developing an alternative set of guidelines on antibiotic use in animal agriculture, rather than abide by those developed at the World Health Organization.
The WHO recommendations first came out last November, proposing to end the use of medically important antibiotics in healthy animals to promote growth and prevent disease. The agency wanted the drugs only used in sick animals, or in healthy animals that were being raised near infected animals.
WHO also wants a complete ban on using antibiotics in animals that are used to treat humans. The agency’s goal is to keep the drugs as effective as possible for human use.
USDA rejected those findings, saying it should have a broader role in developing the guidelines.
A Bloomberg report quotes a USDA official as saying the WHO policies “are not in alignment with U.S. policy and not supported by sound science.” The report says USDA officials are working on a series of guidelines that Bloomberg says aren’t as stringent as the WHO recommendations.
A draft of the USDA guidelines allows antibiotics to be used in healthy animals for disease prevention and offers potential uses to promote animal growth, which is currently illegal in the U.S.