October 23, 2014

Analysis Finds Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria on Supermarket Meat

Petri Dish

An analysis by the Environmental Working Group has found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are common on meat for sale in American supermarkets. A government study published on February 5, 2012 without fanfare found that 81% of ground turkey, 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef, and 39% of chicken carried antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study, published by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), which is a joint project by the FDA, CDC and USDA, found that the meat samples collected in 2011 harbored "significant amounts" of superbug versions of Salmonella and Campylobacter. Those two bacteria cause 3.6 million cases of foodborne illness every year in the United States. In addition, 53% of raw chicken samples carried an antibiotic-resistant strain of E. … [Read more...]

Fix Antibiotics Food Finder Launched

Farmersmarket

Real Time Farms is launching a map to help consumers purchase meat and poultry from animals who have been raised without antibiotics. The Fix Antibiotics Food Finder lets you find retail locations, farms, restaurants, and farmers markets that carry antibiotic-free meat. Real Time Farms said that, "this campaign, as with so many things, comes down to people voting with their wallets because government is seen as moving too slowly." Consumers can add to the database if they have information that's not currently on the map. You can post photos from farms, food artisans, and farmers market, and add to and update vendor profiles.  Retailers, farmers, and artisans can add to the guide too. In fact, restaurants can upload their menu and use the web site's tools to show where the food comes … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Tackles Antibiotics in Meat

Antibiotics

We've reported many times in the past few months on the issue of antibiotic use in food animals. Organizations such as the World Health Organization, National Resources Defense Council, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future have been petitioning the FDA to stop the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals and have been publishing studies on the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. On June 20, 2012, Consumer reports released the result of a poll that found 86 percent of consumers want to buy meat raised without antibiotics. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said they would pay a dollar or more extra per pound for antibiotic-free meat. The majority of respondents were "extremely or very concerned about issues … [Read more...]

FDA Appeals Ruling to Ban Antibiotics in Animal Feed

FPBvariousbacteria

On May 21, 2012, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine Bernadette Dunham, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius filed an appeal with the Second Circuit Court of appeals. They want to overturn Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz's ruling that forced the FDA to ban antibiotics in animal feed. The Judge found that the FDA must resume proceedings to withdraw approval for three antibiotics in animal feed that the agency halted in 1977. In December 2011, the FDA announced that it would not withdraw the antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline from animal feed, even though in 1977, the government said that there is a potential human health threat of widespread antibiotic use in livestock: development of bacteria who become … [Read more...]

Representatives Markey and Slaughter Ask FDA for Answers on Antibiotic Use in Ethanol

Cornharvest

On May 11, 2012, Representatives Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY: the only microbiologist in Congress) wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking several questions about the FDA's stance on reducing the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria linked to food animals. Food Poisoning Bulletin has talked to several experts about this topic, including Tyler Smith of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Scientists and physicians are concerned about the connection between routine sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals and the increasing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The letter the Congresspersons sent to the FDA asks about the link between ethanol byproducts used in animal feed and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It was … [Read more...]

Study Finds Banned Antibiotics in Chicken Feather Meal

Chickenpecking

A study conducted by Arizona State University and Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) found banned antibiotics in chicken feather meal, a byproduct made of ground poultry feathers that is added to cattle, chicken, pig, and fish feed. The drugs that were found included Prozac, Benadryl, and fluoroquinolones, a class of drugs that were banned for use in poultry in 2005 because Campylobacter were becoming resistant to those drugs. Fluoroquinolones are important because they are very effective when used to fight infections caused by bacteria that have developed resistance to other antibiotics. The study authors state that antibiotics are "introduced into the feed and water of industrially raised poultry, primarily to make them grow faster, rather than to treat disease." All … [Read more...]

FDA Announces Voluntary Guidance to Restrict Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals

turkey-farm-usda

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a guidance document listing voluntary measures to restrict the use of antibiotics in farm animals. The government is asking drug companies to change the labels on their products so they can only be used to prevent, control, or treat disease, and will only let farmers use the drugs under the supervision of a veterinarian. Guidance documents are non-binding recommendations that are not enforceable. The FDA uses them to ask corporations and facilities to change their methods. According to the FDA, "guidances describe the Agency's current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited. The use of the word 'should' in Agency guidances means that something is … [Read more...]

STOP Webinar: Regulation, Guidance, and Litigation of Antibiotic Use in Animals

Pigs

On Friday, April 13, 2012, Food Poisoning Bulletin attended a webinar organized by STOP Foodborne illness. The featured speaker was Tyler Smith, Senior Research and Policy Assistant at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF). He spoke about the responsible use of antibiotics in food animal production. There are three ways that antibiotic use in animals is controlled:Regulation. This legally binding and enforceable action by the government can be used to control how and when antibiotics are used to treat food animals.Guidance. The FDA or USDA can issue a "guidance document", which sets out the parameters for 'judicious use' of antibiotics. These non-binding recommendations try to persuade drug companies to voluntarily change their approvals.Litigation. A lawsuit can be filed … [Read more...]

Concern Over Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Soils

FPBvariousbacteria

A study published in the online journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (56:1434-1443. 2012) found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are found in agricultural soils. The soils were treated with manure from animals fed sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics. Should consumers be concerned about this study, especially as gardening season approaches? Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, professor of Food Safety Microbiology at the University of Minnesota, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that recommending any action to the consumer based on a single publication is a bit premature. Still, using untreated or raw manure in soils that are used to grow vegetables for human consumption can be dangerous. There is a documented case of a child contracting E. coli 0157:H7 from garden soil recently … [Read more...]

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Found in Soil and Water

Petri Dish

Two weeks ago, Dr. Margaret Chan, directed general of the World Health Organization, said that antibiotic resistance could "end modern medicine as we know it." Scientists are alarmed by the increase in multi-drug resistant bacteria in recent years. And agricultural use of antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals has been a focus of scientists' concerns for years. A study published in the online journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (56:1434-1443. 2012) has found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are found in agricultural soils. These are soils that have been treated with manure from animals given sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics. The study looked at four types of soils amended with manure and non-manure amended compost and soil from forests. The bacteria in soils … [Read more...]

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