'Swift' FDA action urged after court calls for limiting antibiotic use on farms

Steven Roach, the public health program director at Food Animal Concerns Trust, called the court order "a great victory for public health."

"After decades of delay, the FDA finally will be forced to act on two of the major antibiotics in livestock feeds," he said in a statement. "The court made clear that voluntary action by drug companies is no substitute for FDA fulfilling its mandate to withdraw from the market drugs that have [been] found to be unsafe."

The federal agency is expected to issue formal guidance next week on restricting antibiotic use in healthy animals. Like the initial guidance announced two years ago, the new guidance is expected to still rely on voluntary compliance by farmers and ranchers.

The court ruled in a lawsuit against the FDA filed last May by the National Resources Defense Council and three other member groups of Keep Antibiotics Working: the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Food Animal Concerns Trust and the Union of Concerned Scientists.