A recently released Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report suggests that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed 30 potentially harmful antibiotic additives to remain approved for use in food animals (cows, pigs and chickens), even though the agency’s own scientists found that “none of these products would likely be approvable as new addi- tives for nontherapeutic livestock use if submitted today, under current FDA guidelines.”

Titled “Playing With Chicken,” and based on a review of previously undisclosed FDA documents, the report notes that (i) 18 of the 30 antibiotic feed additives reviewed were assessed as posing a “high risk” to human health; (ii) drug manufacturers did not submit sufficient information on 12 of the additives to establish safety; (iii) despite the fact that 29 of the additives are not proven to be safe, no action has been taken to withdraw approval; and (iv) 26 of the additives have never met the safety criteria established by FDA in 1973. See NRDC News Release, January 27, 2014.