Below is your June 2012 newsletter from the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. In this edition:
There's Still Time: Urge FDA to Strengthen Its Antibiotic Policies
We have until July 12 to comment on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recently released draft guidelines to curb the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in meat and poultry production. While these guidelines are a crucial first step, we need your help to strengthen them. Currently, FDA does not close a loophole in which industrial farm animals can continue to use antibiotics to compensate for overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions; FDA also does not provide measures for monitoring the effectiveness of its voluntary guidelines. We need to change this. If you have not already done so, please click on this link and urge the FDA to improve the guidelines and safeguard antibiotics from overuse on America's industrial farms. You can also help by posting this action alert on your Facebook page and tweeting about it to your followers.
Consumers Union Asks Grocery Stores: Where's the Meat Raised without Antibiotics?
Last week, Consumers Union released a report, titled “Meat On Drugs: The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals and What Supermarkets and Consumers Can Do to Stop It,” focused on the nation's top 13 largest grocery retailers and their selection of meat raised without antibiotics. Consumers Union focused on the retailers' current products, pricing, and labels. The organization is calling on these retailers to commit to carrying meat raised without antibiotics while directing consumer attention to individual supermarkets. Consumers Union has partnered with other national organizations in asking consumers to take action and change the marketplace by calling for a reduction in use of antibiotics in food animal production. "Antibiotics are losing their potency in people, leading to a major national health crisis, and we need to drastically reduce their use in food animals,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union. Learn more here.
FDA Releases Updated Plan on Food Safety
FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has updated its National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Strategic Plan, a document that outlines the program's commitment to sustained food safety through monitoring and research.
Established in 1996, NARMS is an interagency program among the CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that monitors and tracks antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in humans, retail meats, and food animals. This updated plan includes strategic goals moving forward including: developing a sampling strategy that is more representative of food animal production and consumption and more applicable to trend analysis; optimizing data acquisition, analysis, and reporting; strengthening collaborative research projects; and collaborating with international institutions that promote food safety, especially those focused on mitigating the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Learn more on FDA's website.