India develops sound policy on antibiotic use in aquaculture and food animals

India is the most recent country to address the public health concerns associated with the use of non-therapeutic antimicrobials in food animal production, and in doing so, may just leap-frog the United States.

India’s Directorate General of Health Services recently released a policy document entitled “The National Policy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance (NPCAR)”, which outlines approaches for targeting both human and animal antimicrobial usage, infection prevention and control, education and training on administration of antimicrobials, antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems, and enforcement.

It is a move that should be viewed as very positive, if significantly overdue” says Ed Broughton, Research and Evaluation Director of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project at University Research Company and former doctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Among the proposed policies specific to food animal production, the NPCAR recommends banning non-therapeutic usage of antimicrobials in food animals, labeling requirements in food exposed to antimicrobials, and banning over-the-counter (OTC) sale of antimicrobials. It is not clear whether the OTC sales ban would also apply to purchases of antimicrobials in feed (i.e. medicated feed) for food animals. Read More >

NPR Report Discusses How India’s Farming System is Heading for Ecological and Economic Collapse

“Nobody was surprised when environmental activists said the green revolution is crashing. But people were stunned when governmental officials agreed.”

Part 1: India’s Farming ‘Revolution’ Heading For Collapse

Part 2: ‘Green Revolution’ Trapping India’s Farmers In Debt

This is a very interesting two-part series from NPR discussing how the “green revolution” in India is unsustainable, and heading for ecological and economic collapse. India abandoned their traditional farming techniques in the 1960’s and 70’s with the hopes of producing more food by farming the American way: chemicals, high-yield seeds, and intensive irrigation. What they are discovering, however, is that this system of farming is heading towards complete collapse. Read More >

CLF’s 9th Dodge Lecturer Vandana Shiva: Sustainable Local Food is Imperative

At the 9th annual Dodge Lecture yesterday at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (video will be posted on CLF’s website soon), world renowned scientist and environmentalist Vandana Shiva stated that the most important issues in sustainable agriculture today are the disappearance of nutrition in food (a major public health concern) and localization of food sovereignty. Much of what passes for ‘food’ today -processed foods heavy with corn and soy byproducts – lacks the nutrition that once was the defining feature of food. The so-called gains of the Green Revolution weren’t so much gains as displacements. More wheat, rice and corn was grown, instead of the varied plethora of grains that had supported humans for centuries with diverse nutrients. Good nutrition in food comes from healthy soil, which is a result of biodiverse and sustainable agriculture practices, not vast monocultures. As we continue to grow chemically dependent monocultures of a few crops, we denude the soil of the organisms that keep it healthy and impart necessary nutrients to our food. Dr. Shiva expands on soil health in her recent book: Soil Not Oil. Read More >