By Martha Rosenberg

Mad Cows

The July 3 FDA directive was straightforward.

Routine dosing of farm animals with cephalosporin antibiotics to prevent disease and promote growth would be prohibited effective October 1, 2008.

“We are issuing this order based on evidence that extralabel use of these drugs in food-producing animals will likely cause an adverse event in humans and, as such, presents a risk to the public health.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Too good to be true.

But on November 25 after getting a trough full from agribusiness and big pharma – 70 percent of whose antibiotic sales are agricultural – the FDA quietly revoked the ban to “more fully consider the many substantive comments it received” about the prohibition.