Maryland Antibiotics Legislation May Have Little Impact

Claire Fitch

Claire Fitch

Program Officer, Food System Policy Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This post was co-authored by Claire Fitch, Carolyn Hricko, Bob Martin, Keeve Nachman and Jim Yager.

The headlines say that the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act of 2017 will make all chickens raised in Maryland free of antibiotics. While this sounds promising, the legislation has several deficiencies and will not achieve its sponsors’ intent.

A gutted version of the bill has recently passed in the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates and is on its way to reconciliation Read More >

Withdrawal from TPP: What It Means for the US Food System

Krycia Cowling

Krycia Cowling

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Cargo ship, 1973

The public health community and the current administration align on very few issues – and yet the Republican president’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) might be a win for food systems and public health. Could it be?

A trade agreement such as the TPP is huge in scope—it affects many different stakeholders in different ways. In 2014 and 2015, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future bloggers explored negative implications on issues such as antibiotic resistance, food sovereignty, and the ability of corporations to sue countries whose policies affect their profits. Read More >

Connecting the Dots from Stockholm to New York…from Food Systems to Antimicrobial Resistance

Anthony So

Anthony So

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

ASo-Stordalen-2016Even in the land of the midnight sun, the days with the coming summer solstice were not long enough to resolve the issues before the EAT Stockholm Food Forum. This remarkable global gathering of food system thought leaders, celebrity chefs and entrepreneurs to academics and government officials is the inspiration of Gunhild Stordalen, a Norwegian physician who co-founded both the Stordalen Foundation and its EAT Initiative. The Forum hosted voices from Jamie Oliver and Michael Pollan to Kimbal Musk and Sam Kass—all of whom took turn in leading sobering conversations about an ailing food system. This year, connecting the dots between the food system and antimicrobial resistance received important attention on both days in the plenary sessions and in a special breakout track. Read More >

Limiting Antibiotics Misuse in Food Animals – Legislation We Need

Claire Fitch

Claire Fitch

Program Officer, Food System Policy Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This blogpost is co-authored by Claire Fitch, Robert Martin, and Keeve Nachman.

RS47_E. Coli 104696230-scrAntibiotic resistance is a major public health crisis. Continued misuse of antibiotics will result in these lifesaving drugs no longer being effective in treating even the most routine infections.  Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide support for the need for immediate action to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. Each year, at least two million Americans develop these infections, and of those, 23,000 die from them. Antibiotic-resistant infections are more costly to treat, can require lengthier hospital stays, and are more likely to require invasive procedures like surgery. Read More >

We Need to Collect Data about Antibiotics Used on Farms

Claire Fitch

Claire Fitch

Program Officer, Food System Policy Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Courtesy: Flickr Lucid Nightmare

Which antibiotics are used on which farms? Photo courtesy: Flickr Lucid Nightmare

You have probably heard the oft-cited statistic that 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States end up in food-producing animals rather than people. We know this because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires drug manufacturers to report the amount, in kilograms, of antibiotics that are sold, and whether they are intended for use in food animal production or medicine.

What may surprise you is that we have no idea how the 14.8 million kilograms of antibiotics sold for use in food-producing animals are actually used on farms. We do not know Read More >

Why We Need to Get All Chickens Off All Drugs

Meeri Kim

Meeri Kim

Freelance Journalist

Philadelphia

Chicken-pill-Alexander-Winch-2015We’re almost getting used to it by now: chicken producers and restaurant chains are flocking to get antibiotics out of their food chains. A rash of large food corporations have been announcing their plans to cut the use of human antibiotics in their chickens. Major headlines in the last year include: “McDonald’s Moving to Limit Antibiotic Use in Chickens,” “Perdue Says Its Hatching Chicks Are Off Antibiotics,” “Tyson: Nix Human Antibiotics in Chickens by 2017.”

And it’s a good thing, too: the misuse of antibiotics is of major concern in the ever-escalating problem of antibiotic resistance. Read More >

Fact or Fiction: Public Health Risks and Immigration

Joanna Mackenzie

Joanna Mackenzie

Research Assistant, Food System Policy

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Weeding sugar beets near Ft. Collins, 1972.

Weeding sugar beets near Ft. Collins, 1972.

Opponents of immigration reform have jumped on the Ebola crisis, stigmatizing immigrants regardless of whether they came from an Ebola-affected country or not. These opponents falsely claim that immigrants, especially undocumented ones, are a risk to the public’s health due to all the nasty diseases they might be carrying!

In fact, the real risk to public health comes from the environmental and working hazards that immigrants, who make up 72% of the agricultural workforce in the United States, are exposed to on a daily basis while maintaining our nation’s food supply. (The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future recently called for action to address the public health risks that immigrant and migratory agricultural workers are Read More >

A Good Step by Perdue Chicken

Keeve Nachman

Keeve Nachman

Program Director, Food Production and Public Health

Center for a Livable Future

640px-Chickens_feedingOn September 10 I wrote a blogpost in which I questioned language used by Perdue Chicken in their announcement about removing antibiotics from hatcheries and removing “human antibiotics” from feed. My main question concerned whether the company would be refraining from using drugs used for humans, or classes of drugs used for humans. This is an important distinction when talking about antibiotic resistance, and the answer I was hoping to hear is that Perdue was swearing off entire classes of drugs used for humans. Read More >

Antibiotics on the Farm: Feed Tickets Tell All

Keeve Nachman

Keeve Nachman

Program Director, Food Production and Public Health

Center for a Livable Future

Which antibiotics are these guys being fed?

Which antibiotics are they eating?

A Reuters story, published yesterday, broke some news about the poultry industry, its dangerous misuse of antibiotics, and the mistruths propagated by industry leaders. Unfortunately, what the reporters uncovered is not that surprising—but it is alarming. Read the article, “Documents reveal how poultry firms systematically feed antibiotics to flocks,” to find out exactly what the reporters’ analysis of “feed tickets” reveals—in short, a notable discrepancy between what the poultry companies tell consumers they are feeding their chickens and what the documents indicate. Feed tickets are documents created by the feed mills that produce chicken feed to the chicken company’s specs; the tickets list names and amounts Read More >

Seeking answers and armed with cautious optimism about Perdue’s recent announcement

Keeve Nachman

Keeve Nachman

Program Director, Food Production and Public Health

Center for a Livable Future

scientists-chicksPerdue, the nation’s third largest poultry integrator, announced some important changes to its antibiotic use regimen this past Wednesday. I’ve seen quite a bit of coverage of their move in the news, which is encouraging, but a critical look raises suspicions about some of their claims. Let’s take a look at the Good, the Ambiguous and the Ugly of Perdue’s new policies.

The Good

No caveats are needed when describing Perdue’s move to eliminate the injections of eggs with gentamicin. In industrial poultry production, this drug has an extensive history of use in hatcheries, even in birds that will be eventually certified as USDA Organic (the Organic regs turn a blind eye on antibiotic use prior to the second day of life). Their choice to end this practice is one that should be praised. Read More >