Issue Brief

Save Antibiotics August Newsletter (2012)
What's in your Lunchbox? & Senators Call for FDA Action

Below is your August 2012 newsletter from the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. This edition features a video of Supermoms visiting Capitol Hill, a new report on misleading meat labels, action from senators, and more.

What's In Your Lunchbox?

As August draws to a close and kids head back to school, many of us are faced with the daily task of packing a lunchbox. Unfortunately, because of confusing labeling practices by the meat industry, it is not as simple as you would think choosing turkey or bologna to make your child’s sandwich.

A Consumer Reports investigation recently uncovered numerous confusing and unverified labels indicating that no antibiotics were used in meat and poultry production. In response to these criticisms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said (PDF) that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is committed to reviewing labels on meat packages, so that consumers can make thoughtful and informed meat product purchases.

Learn which labels are trustworthy, and which are meaningless, in a helpful chart.

Image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Greg Mote

Senators Call for FDA Action

Thirteen senators sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging it to tighten its recommendations for reducing the use of antibiotics on industrial farms. Several members of the House of Representatives also weighed in, pushing for strong FDA action on the issue.

In their letter, the senators expressed concern that the new guidance leaves a major loophole that allows food animal producers to continue feeding antibiotics to healthy animals to compensate for overcrowding and to promote growth—in effect sidestepping the intent of the reform.

A Supermom Goes to Washington

In our new video from the Supermoms Against Superbugs advocacy day in May, Supermom Everly Macario remembers the life of her son, Simon, who at 18 months old, contracted an antibiotic-resistant infection, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). None of the antibiotics doctors administered were able to cure him and he died. Learn about her trip to D.C. by watching our video.

With support from people like you, who wrote to FDA last month on closing important loopholes in policy guidelines, there is little doubt that the government heard Everly's message and yours.

Related Resources

Top Food Companies Moving Away From Overuse of Antibiotics on Industrial Farms

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.


FDA Reports that 25 of 26 Antibiotic Makers Will Comply with New Policies

On March 26, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that 25 out of 26 drug companies that sell antibiotics for growth promotion “confirmed in writing their intent to engage with FDA as defined in Guidance #213.” FDA introduced this policy in final form Dec. 11, 2013, to curb antibiotic overuse and increase veterinary oversight on industrial farms. More

200,000+ Americans to FDA: Require Real Veterinary Oversight of Antibiotics on Industrial Farms

Three months ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took an important step to protect people from superbugs. For the first time, it issued a set of proposed policies that would require food producers and feed mills to obtain a veterinarian’s order before adding antibiotics to animal feed or water. More

New FDA Policies on Antibiotics Use in Food Animal Production

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, Football, and Industrial Farms

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.