As reported in today’s USA Today, for the first time, the US Food & Drug Administration has banned the use of a veterinary drug, specifically an antibiotic used to treat diseased chickens, “because it has caused the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.”
Baytril, used since 1996 to treat respiratory illness in chickens will still be allowed for use in other livestock. The ban was prompted by the fact that chickens, unlike other livestock (at least as the FDA says) pass on campylobacter, common bacteria commonly responsible for cases of food poisoning. According to USA Today, chickens with antibiotic resistant campylobacter now account for 21% of the 1-million campylobacter infections in people each year.
While a spokesperson for the Center For Disease Control applauded the decision, a lobbyist for the poultry industry, as well as pharmaceutical giant Bayer, maker of Baytril, expressed the standard corporate line of PR babble that makes it harder to read the news each day.