SCHAUMBURG, Ill. – The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reaffirmed its support for the judicious use of antibiotics in food animals.

A federal court judge ordered the US Food and Drug Administration to withdraw approval of penicillin and tetracycline for use in animals. Manufacturers of the products can request hearings to allow them to provide scientific evidence that the use of antimicrobial products does not pose a threat to public health.

"The AVMA acknowledges the growing concern regarding antimicrobial use and resistance in animals and people, and supports the judicious use of antimicrobials to maximize public and animal health benefits while minimizing risks," said Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA chief executive officer. "The judicious use of antimicrobials plays a key role in preserving the health of our nation's food animals and the safety of our nation's food supply.

“Many agree that there is a need for greater veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in food-producing animals, and the AVMA is currently working with the FDA to develop practical means to increase this veterinary oversight," he said.

DeHaven also said any decision to withdraw approval or ban antimicrobial uses should be based on sound science and risk assessments. Safe and effective antimicrobials must be available for use in veterinary medicine to ensure the health and welfare of animals and humans, he added.