WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance on the judicious use of antimicrobial drugs in livestock raised for the purpose of food production in an effort to address issues related to antimicrobial resistance of bacteria in humans and animals resulting from overuse and misuse of the drugs.

“The F.D.A. acknowledges the efforts to date by various veterinary and animal producer organizations to institute guidelines for the judicious use of antimicrobial drugs, but the agency believes additional steps are needed,” the agency said in a statement.

The F.D.A. said the draft guidance is based on evidence support concluding that non-therapeutic use of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animal does not protect the public. The guidance provides details to incorporate steps to limit the applications of antimicrobial drugs to use in food-producing animals that are considered necessary for animal health, which would be supervised by veterinarians.

“These steps would help reduce overall use of medically important antimicrobial drugs, thereby reducing the pressure that generates antimicrobial resistance,” said the F.D.A.

“Using medically important antimicrobial drugs as judiciously as possible is key to minimizing resistance development and preserving the effectiveness of these drugs as therapies for humans and animals,” said Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., the director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “FDA is committed to working with animal drug sponsors, the veterinary and public health communities, the animal agriculture community, and all other interested stakeholders in developing a practical strategy to address antimicrobial resistance concerns that is protective of both human and animal health.”

A copy of the draft guidance is available on the F.D.A. web site and is titled “The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals.”