Consumers across the United States are demanding meat and poultry raised without antibiotics—and large producers, restaurants, and other institutions are listening. Following is a list of some leading companies offering responsibly produced food.More info
By Donald Kennedy
Donald Kennedy was commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1977 to 1979. He is professor emeritus of environmental science at Stanford University.
When I was commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency’s national advisory committee recommended in 1977 that we eliminate an agricultural practice that threatened human health. Routinely feeding low doses of antibiotics to healthy livestock, our scientific advisory committee warned, was breeding drug-resistant bacteria that could infect people. We scheduled hearings to begin the process of curtailing the use of penicillin and other antibiotics for this purpose, but Congress halted the effort before it started.
Today, the science is even clearer that antibiotic overuse in agriculture is dangerous — yet the same risks persist. Fortunately, the FDA appears poised to act by instituting a measure known as Guidance 213. This voluntary policy instructs pharmaceutical companies to stop marketing certain antibiotics for animal production purposes. Some public health advocates want the agency to make the restrictions mandatory, but voluntary guidance can work — if it is finalized. The agency issued a draft version of its policy in April 2012 and received public comments, as required, but the comment period closed about a year ago. Drugmakers have been left awaiting further instruction.
A far better solution would be to improve the crowding and poor sanitation that make food animals susceptible to disease in the first place. Action by the FDA would be the initial step to encourage companies to make such changes and stop relying on massive overuse of antibiotics.
The FDA should finalize Guidance 213, tell the public how data will be collected to ensure that its voluntary strategy is working and then, if antibiotic misuse continues unabated, apply the full force of regulation. It has been 36 years since the agency moved to restrict injudicious antibiotic practices that threatened the public’s health. It should not wait any longer to finish the job.
- Date added:
- Aug 23, 2013
Surveys of the animal production industry by the U.S. Department of Agriculture demonstrate that many farms and ranches administer antibiotics to healthy animals at low doses to offset overcrowding and poor sanitation and to accelerate livestock growth—practices that the medical and public health communities document as a significant factor in human antibiotic resistance. In 2013, FDA took steps to address these concerns.
Chris Linaman, executive chef at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, WA, is dedicated to creating a more sustainable food system by supporting growers and producers who raise food without the routine use of antibiotics that endanger the public’s health. Working in partnership with Health Care Without Harm and Overlake’s administration, Chris has created a comprehensive sustainable food purchasing policy for Overlake Hospital that has resulted in many impressive achievements in just a short time.More info
Two former FDA commissioners – David Kessler (1990-1997) and Donald Kennedy (1977-1979) – wrote to OMB Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell urging her to take action on antibiotics in agricultural feed.More info
SuperChefs Against Superbugs, an initiative of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, is a movement of chefs nationwide who have expressed their support of ending the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in food animal production. As a result, the SuperChefs are urging the Food and Drug Administration to strengthen its antibiotic policies.More info