Editorial: All But the Smoking Gun

Publication: The Chicago Sun-Times


06/14/2011 - It’s an idea that sounds reasonable at first.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee recently passed an amendment to an agriculture spending bill that would require the Food and Drug Administration to base its regulations on “hard science.”

In other words, the agency would not be allowed to place restrictions on a food ingredient or substance unless it could demonstrate that substance “is more harmful to users than a product that does not contain” it.

The measure was introduced by a Montana legislator who felt the FDA shouldn’t be allowed to limit the use of antibiotics in livestock without concrete evidence that these drugs promote antibiotic resistance in people.

He has a point.

No one has documented a case in which the inability to treat a human successfully with antibiotics could be directly linked to the use of antibiotics in animals.

But decades of studies have shown a link between the overuse of antibiotics and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Read the full editorial All But the Smoking Gun on the Chicago Sun-Times' Web site.

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