Antibiotic Resistance

Maryland's Arsenic Ban, Whistleblower Provide Insight Into Poultry Ops

marylandAs of January 2013, arsenic is officially banned from poultry feed in Maryland – the first state to pass such a law. It took three years to push the legislation through over industry opposition, but now environmental, public health and food safety advocates can finally celebrate.

Poultry whistleblower Carole Morison (who used to be a contract farmer for Perdue and appeared in the documentary Food, Inc.) praised the ban after Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed it into law last May, though she explained the need to be aware of possible loopholes.

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GAP Sues FDA for Wrongful Withholding of Animal Drug Data

(Washington, DC) – The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to withhold agency data regarding the sale of antibiotics for use in food animals is unlawful, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) said in a lawsuit filed today.

Drug companies are required to report basic information about antibiotic sales to the FDA under the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). Such information includes how much of each drug is sold; whether the drugs are formulated for use in feed, water, or by injection; and the animals for which each drug is approved. FDA publicly releases a limited summary of ADUFA data each year, but withholds almost all of what companies report.

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Lawsuit Reveals FDA Concerns About Voluntary Antibiotic Reduction

fdaWho do you have to sue around here to get the truth? FDA apparently. Sometimes it takes a lawsuit to make information that's vital to public health … public! One of GAP's sister organizations, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), sued FDA for documents showing what progress exists regarding its voluntary approach to cracking down on the overuse of antibiotics in animals raised for food.

As a result of the lawsuit, the documents (while still somewhat redacted) were made available online last week. FDA had originally failed to respond to PEER's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but now Americans can get some insight into whether letting drug companies voluntarily restrict their products for use on food producing animals is a good idea (a clue, it's not).

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Lack of Data Inhibits Oversight of Animal Antibiotics

salmonella_nihTick, tock … scientists are still waiting on solid data that will help them better understand the relationship between routine antibiotic use in animals (that we end up eating) and antibiotic-resistant infections in people.

According to The New York Times, the "alarming" numbers of drug-resistant bacteria found in meat and poultry in 2010 that the federal government released earlier this year has yet to elicit transparency in how producers use the drugs.

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Court Tells FDA No More Delay on Antibiotic Ban Proceedings

fdaThe FDA's appeal earlier this summer – essentially to escape responsibility from regulating antibiotic overuse in animals – ­faced a major blow yesterday when a federal court in New York decided the agency cannot avoid its duties any longer.

Way to go, judge!

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Survey Shows Good & Bad Food Companies in Antibiotic Use Policy

louise_slaughterRep. Louise SlaughterFIC blogged back in February about the letter Rep. Louise Slaughter sent to 60 top food companies to determine their policies on antibiotic use in meat and poultry production (since the government continues to delay regulation). The survey results are finally in, with ratings by Slaughter on each company's policy and their transparency regarding such information.

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FDA Appeals Court Order to Ban Antibiotics in Animal Feed

fdaFIC reported great news back in March when a federal court ordered FDA to finally follow up on its 35-year-old proposal to ban non-therapeutic use of common drugs – penicillin and two types of tetracycline – in animal feed, due to their potential contribution to antibiotic resistance.

Well, Food Safety News announced today that FDA has filed an appeal to overturn the March decision. We shouldn't be too surprised, given FDA's tendency over the years to ignore evidence suggesting the need to better monitor drug use in large-scale animal agriculture.

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