That's the Food and Drug Administration's conclusion Friday as it calls for a ban on antibiotics widely used to keep the nation's chickens and turkeys healthy. The FDA has determined that Flouroquinolone is no longer safe and can no longer be safely used in animals because of its impact on humans, CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin reports.
The drugs are used to fight the bacteria campylobacter, which causes respiratory problems in poultry and gastrointestinal problems in humans.
The dilemma is that Americans eat 81 pounds of chicken per-person per-year, and treating poultry destined for dinner is weakening the drug's overall effectiveness. FDA officials report that in the few years that the drug has been on the market for poultry, dramatic increases in the level of the drug found in people have been seen.
Human resistance to antibiotics in general has been a major public health concern, with many critics blaming agriculture for overusing the drugs in the nation's food supply, The FDA action is the government's first concrete step toward reversing antibiotic resistance, but the FDA is meeting with its own resistance from the Bayer Corp., which makes one of the drugs, called Baytril.
Bayer plans to contest the government finding.
"We haven't seen evidence that leads us to believe that we're causing harm," said John Payne, a Bayer spokesman.
The poultry industry also has ruffled feathers, saying the antibiotics are used in just 1 or 2 percent of the nation's supply of chickens and turkeys. To be fair, the FDA is also studying the use of drugs in cattle.
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