Statement from The Pew Charitable Trusts on South Korea's Ban on Using Certain Antibiotics in Animal Feed

Contact: Dan Klotz, 202.887.8855; Kip Patrick, 202.552.2135


Washington, DC - 09/17/2008 - Shelley Hearne, managing director, Health & Human Services Policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts, today issued the following statement in response to the decision by South Korea's Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to ban the use of seven types of antibiotics in animal feed (the seven antibiotics that South Korea banned from animal feed are: Penicillin, Neomycin, Chlortetracycline, Colistin, Oxytetracycline, Lincomycin, Bacitracin zinc):

"In banning the use of these antibiotics in animal feed, South Korea takes a critical step in protecting human health.  As more countries follow Europe’s lead in cracking down on the misuse of important human medicines in industrial livestock farming, the inaction of the United States becomes all the more glaring. 

"In the U.S., antibiotics are added to the feed of chickens, hogs, and beef cattle to increase growth rates, despite numerous studies that have connected this practice to antibiotic resistant e-Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. The United States now lags behind Sweden, Denmark, South Korea, and other developed countries in protecting its citizens from this growing health threat."

"Thanks to warnings by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. government has long known that the routine use of antibiotics in industrial farming contributes to the problem of antibiotic-resistant disease.  Yet we have not eliminated this practice because of opposition from the agricultural and pharmaceutical industries.  Federal legislation that would phase out the irresponsible use of seven classes of human medicines in animal agriculture has languished for years in Congress, despite the best efforts of its sponsors. In the upcoming debates on our nation’s food safety, this issue must be made a priority."

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