From Green Right Now Reports

In an effort to salvage the effectiveness of a certain antibiotic for use in treating human illnesses, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an order today prohibiting certain off-label uses of cephalosporin in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys.

The new rules, set to take effect, April 5, 2012, will still allow the livestock industry to use the drug, but only as prescribed.

The FDA’s action comes after collecting extensive public comment on this issue in 2008.

Cephalosporins are used to treat a variety of human illnesses, from pneumonia to diabetic foot and urinary tract infections, septicemia and meningitis, according to the FDA. Their overuse leads to bacteria that are resistant to them, which forces doctors to have to use less effective antibiotics.

The FDA order will prohibit “extra label” or unapproved uses of cephalosporins — for instance using the drug for disease prevention¬† — in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys.

Another off-label use that the order will forbid is the injecting of this drug into chicken eggs.

“We believe this is an imperative step in preserving the effectiveness of this class of important antimicrobials that takes into account the need to protect the health of both humans and animals,” said Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods.

The public can comment on the new order of prohibition from Jan. 6, 2012 through March 6, 2012. To comment on the order of prohibition, visit and enter FDA-2008-N-0326 in the keyword box.

The FDA will consider the comments before the order goes into effect on April 5, 2012.

The FDA defines antibiotic resistance this way:

Antimicrobial drugs have been widely used in human and veterinary medicine for more than 50 years, with tremendous benefits to both human and animal health. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when an antimicrobial drug loses its ability to effectively control or kill bacterial growth; the bacteria become resistant to the drug and these resistant bacteria continue to multiply in the presence of therapeutic levels of an antibiotic. The development of resistance to antimicrobial drugs, and the resulting loss of their effectiveness as antimicrobial therapies, poses a serious public health threat. Misuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs can create selective evolutionary pressure that enables antimicrobial resistant bacteria to increase in numbers more rapidly than antimicrobial susceptible bacteria and thus increase the opportunity for individuals to become infected by resistant bacteria. Because antimicrobial drug use contributes to the emergence of drug resistant organisms, these important drugs must be used judiciously in both animal and human medicine to slow the development of resistance.