The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering placing a ban on an antibiotic that is commonly used in the food industry to fatten up pigs before they are slaughtered.
The antibiotic, called carbadox, is used to prevent diseases from spreading and to increase the weight of pigs meant for slaughter. It has recently come under fire from the FDA due to concerns that it may contain carcinogens that can have an affect on consumers that eat pork treated with the antibiotic.
“Continued approval of carbadox could expose consumers to substances of carcinogenic concern,” the FDA said in a statement.”removal of the product from the market will reduce the lifetime risk (of cancer) to consumers, which is why (FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine) is taking this action.”
In response to the proposed ban, Phibro Animal Health Corp. says it is going to request a court hearing to challenge it. Meanwhile Mecadox, a trademark of Phibro Animal Health Corp and the company that manufactures carbadox, stated that it is “disappointed” in the FDA’s choice to propose a ban “when definitive studies are so close to being completed.”
Carbadox has been approved for use by the FDA since the 1970’s, however upon conducting a study that showed many products treated with carbadox have carcinogenic residue, they decided to propose a ban on the substance.
Although carbadox is widely used in the United States, the use of the antibiotic in animals meant for food was banned by the European Union in 1999, while the selling and buying of carbadox has been completely banned in Canada since 2004.
The FDA has recently persuaded approximately two dozen drug companies to either decrease or entirely stop their use of antibiotics in animals meant for food. Although many experts have warned against the overuse of antibiotics due to them helping in the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, this is one of the few major cases of the FDA banning an antibiotic due to cancer concerns.
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