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The U.S. government announced Friday that it will be revoking approval of carbadox, a drug for treating diseases in swine that has been approved for over four decades, due to concern that it may pose a cancer risk to humans.
Carbadox is made by Phibro Animal Health, a Teaneck, N.J.-based firm, and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 1972. The drug is used to control swine dysentery and bacterial enteritis, and is also used to help pigs gain weight.
“Potential cancer risks are based on an assumed lifetime of consuming pork liver or other pork products containing carbadox residues,” said the FDA in a statement, stressing that people need not change their diets just because of the impending ban. “Pork is a good source of protein. However, protein can also be found in other meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds.”
In a statement of its own, Phibro insisted that it is selling a safe product, which it markets as Mecadox.
“Mecadox has been approved and sold in the United States for more than 40 years and is a widely-used treatment for controlling bacterial diseases,” said Phibro. The company added that it has been working closely with the FDA, and taken efforts, such as “undertaking a comprehensive, rigorous new studies [sic]” using the latest technology. These studies will be completed within the next 90 days, and Phibro is confident they will prove that Mecadox is indeed safe to use.
Phibro has 30 days to request the FDA and its commissioner Dr. Robert Califf for a hearing on the carbadox ban.