Report Leads to Call for Stronger Government Action on Antibiotic Resistance Issues

According to a report recently released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest - the majority of foodborne illness outbreaks caused by antibiotic-resistance pathogens since 1973 have occurred in the past 13 years. The analysis found that out of 55 antibiotic-resistant outbreaks - 34 have occurred since the year 2000. Dairy products, ground beef and poultry were identified as the source of half of those. CSPI petitioned USDA in May of 2011 to declare antibiotic-resistant Salmonella as an adulterant - which would make it illegal in meat products. The report fueled the fire for Representatives Louise Slaughter and Rosa DeLauro - who called for stronger action from the government in tackling antibiotic resistance issues.

Slaughter said there is evidence that the practice of overusing antibiotics in food animals is ruining the effectiveness of these drugs. Every day the government stands idly by - she continued - moves us closer to the nightmare scenario of no longer curing routine infections with antibiotic treatment. Slaughter is the primary sponsor of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act - which would require that eight major classes of antibiotics be limited to only treat sick animals. DeLauro - a cosponsor of that legislation - urged USDA to expeditiously review the petition CSPI submitted more than two years ago and protect the public health from the clear risk of antibiotic-resistant foodborne pathogens.

The National Pork Producers Council has previously pointed to numerous peer-reviewed risk assessments that have shown a negligible risk to human health of antibiotics use in livestock and poultry production. In response to a recent report on antibiotic-resistant illnesses in people - NPPC President Randy Spronk stressed that pork producers use antibiotics in targeted ways - under a veterinarian's supervision - to protect public health and the health of their animals and to produce safe food. Last June - a coalition of ag organizations wrote Representative Slaughter to point out the stringent federal approval process and regulation of antibiotics, the lack of human health risks from their judicious use in livestock production and the benefits they offer in food animal production.

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