Five medical and environmental groups petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to phase out the use of seven classes of antibiotics as feed additives for chicken, hogs and beef cattle. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, Environmental Defense, Food Animal Concerns Trust, and Union of Concerned Scientists timed their petition to coincide with reintroduction of bipartisan legislation by U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Ted Kennedy, (D-MA) calling for a phase-out of the drug uses covered by the petition.

The list includes: penicillins (natural penicillins, penase resistant penicillins, four antipseudomonal penicillins and aminopenicillins), tetracyclines, aminoglycosides, streptogramins, macrolides, lincomycin and sulfonamides.

Called “The Preservation Of Antibiotics For Medical Treatment Bill,” the measure has the support of 385 health, consumer, environmental and animal protection groups. It seeks to ban the feed-additive uses of the named drugs for “nontherapeutic” purposes. These are defined as those used “in the absence of clinical signs of disease in the animal for growth promotion, feed efficiency, weight gain, routine disease prevention or other routine purpose.”

To view the petition and bill, go to: www.keepantibioticsworking.com/new/index.cfm.