Joint letter on State of the Science Regarding Antibiotic Use in Food Animals
Sound Science: Antibiotic Use in Food Animals Leads to Drug Resistant Infections in People
The undersigned medical and public health organizations wish to clarify misinformation and confusion about the state of scientific knowledge concerning the contribution of animal agriculture to human antibiotic resistance.
Recent statements made on the House floor called into question forty years’ worth of peer‐reviewed scientific literature, suggesting this body of evidence is not “hard science.” These statements took aim at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claiming the agency lacks scientific proof to support addressing antibiotic (or antimicrobial) misuse in food animal production. H. Res. 98, introduced in February, also questions FDA’s scientific basis for decision‐making. On the contrary, the evidence is so strong of a link between misuse of antibiotics in food animals and human antibiotic resistance that FDA and Congress should be acting much more boldly and urgently to protect these vital drugs for human illness. In fact, government data show that the vast majority of antibiotics in the U.S. are sold for use in food animals, not people.
Below are highlights from the significant body of literature on the human health threat posed by antibiotic misuse in food animals, including recent federal agency testimony, government summary reviews of peer‐reviewed journal articles and individual examples from within the literature.
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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.
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a type of bacteria that can infect a person’s skin, bones, lungs, heart, brain, and blood. Unlike common staph, MRSA does not respond to traditional antibiotics such as penicillin, making it more difficult and costlier to treat, and more lethal. More info
To prepare for the big game this Sunday, some of America’s top athletes will run drills and watch film to anticipate the other team’s strategy—but even the best players cannot predict what might be their fiercest opposition. More info
Like rivals on the gridiron, superbugs and antibiotic drugs are battling for supremacy. Check out the players on Team Antibiotic and Team Superbug. More info
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