Livable Future Blog:
Just Say No…. (9/16/09)
It’s all in the definition. Will Big Ag try to redefine what’s considered preventive care now that the White House signaled it supports banning the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in food animals? (6/16/09)
CLF Official Statement on PAMTA (6/15/09)
Food Safety Needs Nuance (6/10/09)
New Pew Ad Campaign Hits D.C. Metro (6/4/09)
PAMTA Under Fire from Farm Bureau (3/29/09)
Meat Meets Medicine (3/6/09)
MRSA Threat Spreads to Iowa Pig Farms (1/26/09)
Associated Press: More Americans growing food on small ‘hobby farms’ (10/5/09)
Journal and Courier: Group warns of antibiotic overuse on farms (10/3/09)
Forbes: Planting The Seeds For Sustainability (9/13/09)
Wall Street Journal: Starting Chipotle From Scratch (9/17/09)
Daily Planet: Family farm, ag groups push to restrict overuse of antibiotics for animals (9/12/09)
Time: Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food (8/21/09)
Johns Hopkins Magazine: Farmacology (June, 2009)
Los Angeles Times: A Healthy Resistance to Antibiotics (3/19/09)
Forbes: Bad Bugs From Overuse Of Drugs (3/19/09)
Reuters: Bill Would Ban Nonmedical Drug Use in US livestock (3/17/09)
MSNBC: Flies may be spreading MRSA from fowl feces (3/16/09)
Research on Antibiotics
1. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, an estimated 70% of antibiotics in the U.S. are used on animals.
Antimicrobial resistance is a public health problem of growing urgency. Although use of antimicrobials in humans is the largest contributor to the problem, use of antimicrobials in agriculture also plays a significant role. Mounting evidence is confirming the view, long held in the public health community, that antimicrobial use in animals can substantially reduce the efficacy of the human antimicrobial arsenal.
Now is the time to act to curb the overuse of antimicrobials in animals. But as public health officials and citizens turn to this task, data on quantities of antimicrobials used are not publicly available, even though these data are critical to designing an effective response to the problem.
This report attempts to fill in that gaping chasm by providing the first transparent estimate of the quantities of antimicrobials used in agriculture. We have devised a methodology for calculating antimicrobial use in agriculture from publicly available information including total herd size, approved drug lists, and dosages. The method is complex but sound, and the results are startling. We estimate that every year livestock producers in the United States use 24.6 million pounds of antimicrobials for nontherapeutic purposes. These estimates are the first available to the public based on a clear methodology. We have been careful in making these estimates, always choosing conservative assumptions. We hope that any critics of this study who claim the estimates are incorrect will provide the documented data needed to refine them.
The report’s Chapters and Appendices can be found here.
2. “Antibiotic resistant enterococci and staphylococci isolated from flies collected near confined poultry feeding operations,” Science of the Total Environment (January 2009)
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found evidence that houseflies collected near broiler poultry operations may contribute to the dispersion of drug-resistant bacteria and thus increase the potential for human exposure to drug-resistant bacteria. The research was funded by a grant from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
The findings demonstrate another potential link between industrial food animal production and exposures to antibiotic resistant pathogens. Previous studies have linked antibiotic use in poultry production to antibiotic resistant bacteria in farm workers, consumer poultry products and the environment surrounding confined poultry operations, as well as releases from poultry transport
Jay Graham and his colleagues collected flies and samples poultry litter from poultry houses along the Delmarva Peninsula-a coastal region shared by Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, which has one of the highest densities of broiler chickens per acre in the United States. The analysis by the research team isolated antibiotic-resistant enterococci and staphylococci bacteria from both flies and litter. The bacteria isolated from flies had very similar resistance characteristics and resistance genes to bacteria found in the poultry litter.
Additional authors of the study include Lance Price, Sean Evans and Thaddeaus Graczyk.
1. HR 1549: Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act aims to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics used in the treatment of human and animal diseases.
Sponsor: Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [NY-28] (introduced 3/17/2009) Cosponsors (76)
Committees: House Energy and Commerce; House Rules
Latest Major Action: 7/13/2009 House committee/subcommittee actions. Committee Hearings Held.
2. S 619: A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics used in the treatment of human and animal diseases.
Sponsor: Sen Kennedy, Edward M. [MA] (introduced 3/17/2009) Cosponsors (8)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Major Action: 3/17/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.