Issue Brief

Save Antibiotics July Newsletter (2012)

Thank You for Taking Action, New Videos, and Urge President Obama to Keep His Promise

Below is your July 2012 newsletter from the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. In this edition:

  • Thank You for Taking Action to End the Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animal  
  • New Videos Highlight Chefs and Farmers Encouraging Responsible Use of Antibiotics
  • Urge President Obama to Keep His Promise and Fix the Dangerously Outdated Food Safety System
  • Representative Slaughter Releases Poll of 60 Restaurants' Supply Chain Antibiotic Policies

Thank You for Taking Action to End the Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animal Production

Doctors, parents and chefs—oh my!

About 220,000 people across the country—farmers, consumers, business leaders and veterinarians as well as doctors, parents and chefs— have urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the White House to end antibiotic overuse and misuse on industrial farms. FDA will now consider the public's comments as it revises its draft measures released in April 2012.

We are thrilled with the number of responses and could not have done it without you! When FDA released these draft documents in early April, it was a good first step for one of the most pressing public health concerns today—the emergence of antibiotic-resistant, disease-causing bacteria.  

In 1977, FDA attempted to ban certain classes of antibiotics on industrial farms, but special interests quashed the effort and kept FDA on the sidelines for the following three decades. That is why collecting hundreds of thousands of comments in support of these measures is so important. Because of you, we can show FDA and the Obama Administration that America is watching and cares about antibiotics.

In addition, more than 290 chefs from coast to coast signed a letter to FDA urging the agency to strengthen our nation's antibiotics-in-ag policies. Read the letter here!

New Videos Highlight Chefs and Farmers Encouraging Responsible Use of Antibiotics

On the tail of the Supermoms Against Superbugs advocacy day in May, we have released two short videos from some of our advocates who lend their voice in urging the responsible use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. The first video features L.A.-based celebrity chefs and restaurateurs Suzanne Goin and Mary Sue Milliken, who believe that everyone should be able to cook with responsibly-raised meat and poultry.

The second video features Illinois farmers Jeanne and Allan Sexton. Born and raised on a farm, the Sextons know that animals don't require routine antibiotics to grow and remain healthy, just good food and living conditions.

Urge President Obama to Keep His Promise and Fix the Dangerously Outdated Food Safety System

President Obama signed sweeping food safety legislation into law more than a year ago, but his administration has yet to release overdue draft rules for the key provisions of the act. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act represents the first improvements to our food safety system since the Great Depression, but without full implementation, Congress' bipartisan achievement will fail to live up to its promise to help clean up our food supply.

Draft rules that would strengthen FDA oversight of domestic produce, processed foods and food imports have been sitting at the White House for over seven months. As the nation waits for safer food, Americans are continuing to get sick from suchcommon pathogens as Salmonella and E. coli. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million Americans get sick from a foodborne pathogen every year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

Please urge the Obama Administration to ensure that the promise of a safer food supply becomes a reality. Call the White House comment line with this message at 202-456-1111 and visit www.MakeOurFoodSafe.org to find out how to write the White House and ask them to move forward with the delayed food safety proposals.

Representative Slaughter Releases Poll of 60 Restaurants' Supply Chain Antibiotic Policies

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) released findings this month from a survey of restaurants' and grocery stores' antibiotic policies in meat and poultry. This past February, her office surveyed over 60 restaurants, grocery stores, and meat producers to learn the degree antibiotics are used to raise the meat they sell. While a few companies such as Chipotle, Whole Foods and Applegate have a robust antibiotic policy, the survey found that a vast majority of companies use meat and poultry from suppliers that routinely administer low-dose antibiotics to their livestock. Representative Slaughter authored the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which seeks to end the routine use of antibiotics on industrial farms.