Tell the FDA to keep antibiotics out of our food

tell the fda: no antibiotics in our food!When people get sick, they have to go to the doctor to get an antibiotic prescription. But that rule doesn’t hold true for animals raised for meat. Alarmingly, up to 70% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on industrial farms in healthy food animals.1 This massive overprescription is breeding new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can — and have — spread to humans. The trend is frightening. Currently, more people die in the U.S. from antibiotic-resistant staph infections than from AIDS, and antibiotics continue to decline in effectiveness for treating both human and animal diseases.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware of the issue, and has issued something called a “draft guidance,” which unfortunately is non-binding and does not go nearly far enough to stave off the coming public health disaster.2 Until the FDA implements effective and unambiguous regulations to curtail the use of antibiotics in meat production, the risks to the American public will only increase.

The FDA is accepting public comments on the draft guidance until August 28. Will you tell them it’s time to enact real regulations that protect public health and ensure responsible use of antibiotics in animals?

A 2009 study from the University of Iowa found that 70% of hogs and 64% of workers in industrial animal confinements tested positive for MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection.3 Government officials now admit that humans can become infected from eating or even handling infected meat.4

Antibiotics fed routinely to livestock in their food and water can promote faster growth, but the practice is also used as a way to compensate for the effects of extreme overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in factory farms. Big Ag might argue that there are no alternatives, but that is not the case. In 1998, after growing worried about the spread of resistant bacteria in humans, Denmark banned antibiotics for non-therapeutic use in animals. Since then, the Danish livestock industry has grown 43%.5

While the FDA’s draft guidance may have some good suggestions, entrenched interests like Big Ag will not respond to voluntary half measures.

Submit your comment today and tell the FDA to issue enforceable regulations that stop the dangerous practice of feeding antibiotics to healthy animals.

_____________________

1 www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=most-us-antibiotics-fed-t
2 www.news-releases.uiowa.edu/2009/january/012309mrsa_study.html
3 www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480b0c78d
4 www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20100715/BUSINESS01/7150344/Antibiotics-in-livestock-affect-humans-USDA-testifies
5 www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/10/eveningnews/main6195054.shtml

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