Why We Need to Get All Chickens Off All Drugs

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 >

Not-So-Breaking News: Misuse of Antimicrobials Threatens Public Health

An article just out in Clinical Microbiology Reviews should put to rest the hotly contested debate about antimicrobial misuse in industrial food animal production (IFAP).  The review article, “Food Animals and Antimicrobials: Impacts on Human Health,” written by Bonnie Marshall and Stuart Levy of the Tufts University School of Medicine, provides one of the most comprehensive summaries to-date of the evidence linking antimicrobial misuse in IFAP to increased incidence of antimicrobial-resistant infections in humans, and it should silence accusations made by elected officials who contend that there is insufficient evidence to support restrictions on antimicrobial use in agriculture.

These accusations have grown louder in recent months.  In June of this year, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) attached an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have prohibited the Food and Drug Administration from spending money to restrict the use of antimicrobials in the absence of “hard science.”  The “hard science amendment,” poorly written and clumsily introduced, was stripped from the legislation before it passed the House.  But the arguments presented by Rehberg and other members nevertheless reveal a strident—and unwarranted—skepticism of existing scientific knowledge about antimicrobial resistance. Read More >