Groups Fault U.S. For Not Restricting Antibiotic Use On Farms|
Use in Animal Feed Increases Risks of Superbugs
Washington, D.C. - Public health, agriculture and environmental groups today sharply criticized a government plan to reduce antibiotic resistance, saying it fails to call for banning the use of medically important antibiotics in agriculture. Soaring increases in diseases resistant to antibiotics prompted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies to issue a draft Action Plan this summer to address this looming public health crisis.
"The Action Plan on antibiotic resistance might more accurately be termed an inaction plan when it comes to agriculture," said Karen Florini, senior attorney at Environmental Defense. "The business-as-usual steps described in the plan's agricultural provisions simply do not reflect the severity of this emerging public health crisis."
Formal comments submitted to the CDC by Environmental Defense, American Public Health Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and others recommended the following:
"Using important antibiotics simply to fatten hogs and chickens jeopardizes the value of those vital drugs," said Tamar Barlam, M.D., director of CSPI's program on antibiotic resistance. "The more antibiotics are used in livestock, the less effective they will be at treating food-borne illnesses."
"One must ask if the 87 items outlined in the plan are meant to camouflage how little real action the U.S. government is actually committed to taking," said Mark Ritchie, president of IATP. "In contrast to U.S. policies, reducing the inappropriate and dangerous use of beneficial human antibiotics is already a priority for the European Union and the World Health Organization."
The draft Action Plan is open to public comment until Friday, Aug. 4.
Public health, agriculture and environmental experts are available for comment:
Michael Jacobson, Ph.D.
Margaret Mellon, Ph.D.
For a complete copy of the comments or to speak with another medical, scientific, public health or agriculture expert, contact: Jennifer Kelly, 202/463-6670