Health Professionals Ask Obama to Take Stronger Action on Antibiotics in Ag

http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/antibiotic-use-in-livestock-zb0z1306zsal.aspx

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Reposted with permission from Food Safety News

Citing the growing threat from antibiotic resistant infections, nearly 800 health care professionals signed onto a letter sent to the Obama administration on Tuesday urging more limits on antibiotics used in food animal production.

“Current patterns of antibiotic use in agriculture not only increase the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections in people but also support an agricultural system that harms public and environmental health,” said Ted Schettler, MD, the science director for the Science and Environmental Health Network and an adviser for Health Care Without Harm, one of the groups backing the letter, along with the Pew Charitable Trusts and Healthy Food Action.

In their letter addressed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the advocates urge the president to “move forward with stalled U.S. Food and Drug Administration actions to reduce the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in food animal production.”

The groups want the FDA to strengthen and finalize the voluntary guidelines the agency has been working on and also move forward on withdrawal of the “unsafe uses of antibiotics.”

“We also ask your administration to publicly report better data on livestock antibiotic sales to inform the public health community about emerging disease threats and to monitor the success of federal policies,” the letter read.

“Given the rapid rate at which many antibiotics are becoming ineffective for treating human disease and the limited number of new antibiotics in development, the FDA should take bold steps to rein in overuse and misuse,” the groups wrote.

Robert Gould, MD, President of the San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility, added: “The antibiotic resistance crisis is growing worse each day. Physicians are seeing more and more patients with antibiotic resistant infections in hospitals, and we are cleaning up our own act by curbing our own overuse of antibiotics in clinical practice. But this is not enough. We now recognize that feeding healthy animals antibiotics contributes enormously to this problem. As health professionals fundamentally concerned with the health of our patients, we urge President Obama to demonstrate his leadership on this issue by joining our demand that the livestock industry and the FDA promptly correct this serious threat to public health.”