Three-fourths of the antibiotics in this country are used on livestock whose owners haven't shown equal concern about 'superbugs.'April 13, 2012
Voluntary guidelines for pharmaceutical companies will not wean the livestock industry off its addiction to antibiotics.
Yet that's what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — which has previously taken tentative steps to curb the agricultural use of antibiotics and is under a judge's order to carry out existing laws that call for limiting the overuse of two classes of antibiotics — is proposing. Obviously, the agency wants to avoid a protracted legal battle with producers, and its authority is limited by Congress' repeated refusal to act. But this latest plan falls far short of the decisive action needed to make a difference.
Most of the antibiotics given to livestock aren't used to treat illness but to quicken the animals' growth or as a preventive measure to keep disease from sweeping through the crowded pens and cages that are common to industrial agriculture. Doctors have been growing more cautious about prescribing antibiotics for humans because overuse fosters the development of drug-resistant bacteria; last month, for example, the Infectious Diseases Society of America called for a drastic reduction in antibiotic use for sinus infections for that reason. That's good, but it is of limited use when three-fourths of the antibiotics in this country are used on livestock whose cost-conscious owners haven't shown equal concern about "superbugs."
This week, the FDA proposed guidelines not for the livestock industry but for the pharmaceutical companies that provide farms and ranches with massive amounts of common antibiotics without prescriptions. The guidelines call on drug companies not to sell the drugs without a veterinarian's prescription or for "non-medical uses." Even if pharmaceutical companies were to comply, despite the considerable loss of sales, this would address only antibiotic use for growth and would not stem the use of the drugs to prevent illness. Because the same drugs are commonly used for both, it's hard to see how this would make a sizable dent in the problem.
If the industry did cut back on antibiotic use, food prices would almost certainly rise, at least somewhat. But as long as the drugs are overused, the public is paying in other ways: More exotic antibiotics — and hospitalizations — are necessary to treat infections that once were readily cured with a bottle of pills. And over time, patients will face serious and possibly fatal illness from bacteria that have outwitted doctors' arsenals.
The FDA contends, with justification, that guidelines would work faster than a ban, which would almost certainly be greeted with multiple lawsuits — potentially one for every drug affected. But moving faster isn't necessarily moving better.
OBAMA APPOINTS MONSANTO’S VICE PRESIDENT AS SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE COMMISSIONER AT THE FDA2009- not enough people know about this). The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has been made the US food safety czar. This is no joke.
Michael Taylor, MONSANTO’S VICE PRESIDENT, was just appointed senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. This is the same man that was in charge of FDA policy when GMO’s were allowed into the US food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety. He “had been Monsanto’s attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA [and then] he became Monsanto’s Vice President and chief lobbyist. This month [he] became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America’s food safety czar. This is no joke.”
Here’s the full story:
Here’s the back story.
When FDA scientists were asked to weigh in on what was to become the most radical and potentially dangerous change in our food supply — the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods — secret documents now reveal that the experts were very concerned. Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried “serious health hazards,” and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply.
By: Jennifer Hue
In: Science and Technology
Tags: Obama, EX Monsanto VP, Senior Advisor to the commissioner FDA
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
Views: 2806 | Comments: 11 | Votes: 1 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 724 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
|Liveleak on Facebook|