White House Acknowledges Over-Use Of Antibiotics In Farm Animals, Shrugs

(Patrick Dockens)

Last year, the FDA released voluntary guidance for the pharmaceutical industry, which sells 80% of all antibiotics in the U.S. to farmers, primarily because they promote growth in animals. That guidance asked drug companies to please stop selling antibiotics for that purpose, but allows them to keep selling just as many drugs for “disease prevention,” even though it’s been proven that continuous, low-dose use of antibiotics renders their medical use less effective and contributes to the development of drug-resistant pathogens. Today, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued a report that some had hoped would recommend the FDA take a harder line on this issue. Those people are probably a bit disappointed. [More]

(Fuzzy Gerdes)

Report Shows Farmers’ Indiscriminate Use Of Antibiotics In Chicken Feed

While the medical community and public health advocates continue to call on the FDA to better regulate the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed, farmers and pharmaceutical companies try to claim that these drugs are primarily being used for disease prevention and that their use doesn’t cross over into humans. But a new investigative report from Reuters calls into question a number of statements made by the nation’s largest poultry farmers. [More]

Perdue Stops Using Antibiotics In Chicken Hatcheries

(Mark Turnauckas)

There’s some good news for a change for those concerned about the rampant use of antibiotics in animal feed. Perdue, the nation’s most well-known chicken producer claims that 95% of its chickens will now be antibiotic-free (sort of) after removing all antibiotics from chicken hatcheries. [More]

Appeals Court Allows Farmers To Keep Feeding Unnecessary Antibiotics To Animals

(Teresa RS)

More than 35 years ago, the FDA acknowledged that feeding medically unnecessary antibiotics to farm animals may encourage the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which poses a huge health risk to humans. In 2012, a federal court ruled that the FDA is required by law to hold hearings in which the drug makers would need to prove the safety of non-medical use of these antibiotics. But today, a the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s ruling, saying it’s up to the FDA to decide if it wants to hold such hearings. [More]

(Steve)

Cargill Says It Will Stop Using Antibiotics To Fatten Up Turkeys, But Do They Mean It?

Three years ago, Cargill recalled 36 million pounds of Salmonella-tainted ground turkey (followed by a later recall of another 185,000 pounds of the stuff). The particular strain of Salmonella involved in these recalls and the subsequent outbreak that sickened at least 134 people in 36 states, is resistant to antibiotics, likely because of all the drugs put into the turkeys’ feed solely because it has th side-effect of encouraging tissue growth. Yet only now is the agribusiness giant thinking maybe it shouldn’t carelessly shove antibiotics down the throats of the birds it sells to consumers. [More]

Why These 5 Pro-Consumer Bills Won’t Become Law In 2014

Why These 5 Pro-Consumer Bills Won’t Become Law In 2014

Back in January, at the dawn of the year, we gazed into our not-quite-crystal ball and took a look at some pieces of pending legislation that could help consumers this year. Now, in July, we’re at the halfway point of the year, and so it’s a good time to take a look at those bills and see how the wheels of government have turned in 2014. [More]

Could A Fungus Extract Take Away Drug-Resistant Superbugs’ Super Powers?

(Scott Lynch)

We’ve written several stories stories over the years asking farmers to stop feeding unnecessary antibiotics to their animals, but it’s not because we object to the taste of penicillin. It’s because study after study has shown that the over-use of antibiotics contributes to the development of so-called superbugs, bacteria that are resistant to the very drugs intended to kill them. But researchers in Canada may have found a way to reverse that resistance. [More]

Here’s Why The FDA’s Antibiotics-In-Agriculture Policy Is A Charade

(Great Beyond)

Imagine you’re one of only a handful of businesses in the U.S. making a very profitable and lucrative product. Then come new rules that should have the effect of slashing your business drastically and probably weeding out what little competition there is in the market. You’d fight back, especially if you’re part of an industry that is known for tossing money around to get what you want. So why is the drug industry not up in arms about the FDA policy aimed at curbing the use of antibiotics in farm animals? Because it’s not doing anything. [More]

(Michael)

Doctors Call For End To Fattening Farm Animals With Antibiotics

While the beef, pork and drug industry likes to claim there isn’t enough science to merit a ban on the medically unnecessary use of antibiotics in farm animal feed, the nation’s largest group of physicians doesn’t quite see it that way. [More]

If Texas Farmers Want Chipotle To Buy Their Beef, They Should Stop Feeding Antibiotics To Cattle

(Adam Fagen)

Yesterday, the Commissioner of the Texas Dept. of Agriculture wrote to the founder and CEO of burrito chain Chipotle, saying he was “shocked” by Chipotle’s “foolish” decision to buy beef from cattle raised in Australia when there are so many cattle farmers in the Lone Star State, accusing the company of abandoning American farmers — but glossing over the fact that the domestic supply is limited if Chipotle wants to stick to its guns about using antibiotic-free beef. [More]

FDA Doesn’t Seem To Care That Novartis Still Sells Antibiotic As Pig-Fattener

FDA Doesn’t Seem To Care That Novartis Still Sells Antibiotic As Pig-Fattener

Last week, we told you how pharma biggie Novartis was still openly marketing at least one of its antibiotics as a growth-promoter for livestock, even though the FDA had politely asked drug companies to pretty please stop selling antibiotics for non-medical uses. Given the voluntary nature of this guidance, not to mention its numerous loopholes, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that both the FDA and Novartis shrugged off critics’ concerns. [More]

Most Doctors Still Prescribing Antibiotics When They’re Not Supposed To

Most Doctors Still Prescribing Antibiotics When They’re Not Supposed To

Acute bronchitis is generally a result of any number of viruses, meaning that antibiotics won’t work. This is not news to the medical or scientific community, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been trying for 15 years to get doctors to stop the knee-jerk practice of prescribing antibiotics for the disease. And yet, a new study finds that some 70% of physicians are still telling patients to take drugs that don’t work. [More]

(Chris Martino)

Rep. Slaughter Asks McDonald’s To Switch To Antibiotic-Free Beef

Some 80% of antibiotics sold in this country go to farmers to put in animal feed, and while the livestock and pharmaceutical industries now like to pretend it’s for disease prevention, the primary motive for shoving drugs down animals’ throats is because antibiotics have the happy side effect of encouraging growth. The practice is so widespread that it would take one of the country’s largest beef-buyers to result in any effective change, which is why New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has called on McDonald’s to ditch drugged-up meat for good. [More]

Novartis Continues To Market Antibiotic As A Way To Fatten Up Pigs

Novartis Continues To Market Antibiotic As A Way To Fatten Up Pigs

Last December, after decades of ignoring the issue of the non-medical use antibiotics in farm animals, the FDA finally released industry-friendly guidance on the topic, politely asking drug companies to stop selling their antibiotics to farmers for anything other than disease treatment and prevention. And yet the folks at Swiss drug giant Novartis continue to push one of their antibiotics as a way for pig farmers to make bigger pigs. [More]

Drug Companies Say They Won’t Sell Antibiotics For Non-Medical Use In Animals, But Are They Telling The Truth?

Drug Companies Say They Won’t Sell Antibiotics For Non-Medical Use In Animals, But Are They Telling The Truth?

The FDA had “Look at effect of medically unnecessary antibiotics in farm animals and maybe do something about it” on its to-do list for three decades, and then last December it finally issued a pretty-please to the pharmaceuticals industry, asking drug companies to voluntarily stop selling antibiotics for non-therapeutic use on farm animals. Almost all of them have since agreed in writing to follow the FDA’s guidance, but are those promises worth the paper they’re written on? [More]

One of the ads run by a local farmer in The Idaho Statesman. Click to see full-size.

Full-Page Ads Thank Trader Joe’s For Giving Consumers The Choice To Eat Drugged-Up Meat

Freedom of choice is a pretty awesome thing. But for quite some time, consumers have had very little choice when it comes to buying beef, chicken, or pork that wasn’t fed a massive amount of medically unnecessary antibiotics. That’s one of the reasons why our cohorts at Consumers Union have been pushing supermarket chain Trader Joe’s to stop selling meat from these animals — so consumers could have an affordable, convenient way to get meat that wasn’t pumped full of penicillin. But according to a series of full-page newspaper ads, consumers apparently want hamburgers that are contributing to the spread of drug-resistant infections. [More]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Takes FDA Chief To Task On Weak Antibiotics Guidance

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Takes FDA Chief To Task On Weak Antibiotics Guidance

In December, the Food and Drug Administration showed just how little it actually cares about drugs in our food by — after more than 35 years of dragging its feet on the topic — politely asking drug companies to pretty please stop selling medically unnecessary antibiotics to farmers who put the drugs in animal feed solely to encourage muscle tissue growth. Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren had the chance to grill FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on the topic, and she didn’t pull her punches. [More]

Chick Fil-A To (Eventually) Stop Using Antibiotic-Filled Chicken

Chick Fil-A To (Eventually) Stop Using Antibiotic-Filled Chicken

In a move that could (hopefully) have a positive ripple effect on the rest of the fast food industry, Chick fil-A announced today that it will phase out the use of chickens raised using medically unnecessary antibiotics over the next five years. [More]