Turkey Is Bad on Antibiotics—Pork and Beef, Even Worse

DAVID WALLINGA, MD, NRDC Senior Health Advisor, Healthy People & Thriving Communities. Dr. Wallinga and NRDC have kindly allowed us to repost this article from the original on the NRDC blog.

 Heading into the holidays, many of our families are planning meals centered around a delicious turkey, ham or brisket. But a new analysis from NRDC and our partners at Food Animal Concerns Trust shows that our families' health is at significant risk from how these American meats are typically produced.

Just a week before Thanksgiving, there's news that an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella, linked to raw turkey, is still spreading; it has sickened 164 people thus far, killing one. Each year, at least 2 million Americans suffer infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, resulting in more than 23,000 deaths. Those numbers are rising according to experts

What's that got to do with your holiday dinner planning? Plenty, says our new analysis, released just in time for Antibiotic Awareness Week

Grades are in for America’s top burger chains

22 out of 25 get an “F” for a lack of meaningful policies restricting antibiotic use in their beef supply chains

Hannah Lacasse, U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

 Here’s our beef with the overuse of antibiotics in the beef industry.

On October 17, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Consumer Reports, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Friends of the Earth, and Center for Food Safety released the fourth annual Chain Reaction report. This year, the report surveyed and graded America’s top 25 burger chains on their antibiotic use policies and practices for the beef they buy.

FDA FIVE-YEAR PLAN ON ANTIBIOTICS FALLS SHORT

Steven Roach, Food Safety Program Director, Food Animal Concerns Trust

 On September 14, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) released a Five-Year Action Plan to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance by reducing antibiotic overuse on the farm. While it is great that FDA continues to recognize the problem and take steps to address it, the plan does not do enough and does not include concrete goals for success. With the world on the brink of a post-antibiotic era where routine infection will once again kill and the threat of infection makes routine surgery dangerous, the FDA needs to do much more.  

Economic studies support the withdrawal of antibiotics in animal feed to protect public health and agricultural environments

Dr. Tanya Roberts, PhD, Chair of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention and retired Sr. Economist from Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture

Antibiotic resistance (AR) is a huge global health challenge. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified the use of antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals as contributing to the development and spread of AR bacteria that are transmitted from animals to humans.  If resistant bacteria contaminate the foods that come from those animals, people who consume these foods can develop serious and sometimes life-threatening AR infections.

U.S. Advisory Council on Antibiotic Resistance Puts the Onus on Veterinarians

In a meeting focused on antibiotic stewardship, advisors emphasized correcting veterinarian behavior, which lets the food animal industry off the hook

Cameron Harsh, Senior Manager for Organic & Animal Policy at Center for Food Safety

It may not have the catchiest name, but since 2015, the Presidential Advisory Council on Combatting Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB) has been tasked with a critical public health objective: identifying strategies for federal agencies to stop the global spread of antibiotic resistance and preserve the effectiveness of medical treatments. With an estimated 23,000 U.S. deaths each year from infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the council has the potential to be a powerful tool in protecting the public.

This Pacific Salmon Lover is Taking a Fresh Look at Farmed Salmon

Sarah Sorscher, Center for Science in the Public Interest

As a Seattle native, I can be a bit snobby about farmed salmon. My family trained me and my brother to avoid “Atlantic” salmon (which is pretty much always farmed), and to look for names like “King,” “Sockeye,” “Chinook,” and “Coho” as a sign that we were getting bona fide Pacific wild-caught fish. Taste mattered to us, but we were also concerned about the environmental and health impact of salmon farming.

National Food Policy Conference Features Expert Panel Discussion of Antibiotics

Thomas Gremillion, Director, Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America

The Consumer Federation of America assembled a panel of experts to discuss “The One Health Approach to Antibiotic Resistance” at its recent 41st Annual National Food Policy Conference. The make-up of the panel illustrates the broad approach that addressing antibiotic resistance requires, and the discussion made clear both the tremendous progress that advocates have made in reducing antibiotic overuse, and the urgent need for much more serious action, particularly in animal agriculture.

Antibiotic Use for Disease Prevention in Animals: A Thematic Paper resulting from the 2nd G7 Chief Veterinary Officers Forum

Susan Vaughn Grooters, MPH, consults for Keep Antibiotics Working regarding consumer advocacy and policy analysis. Susan is also a graduate research associate pursuing a PhD in Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

On October 5th of this last year the 2nd G7 Chief Veterinary Officers Forum took place. At this meeting were the Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and representatives from the European Union, and two intergovernmental organizations – the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). A full agreement was reached on the strategies and commitments for the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and a thematic paper resulted.

Science Deniers of the Chicken Industry Get a Rude Awakening

Austin Wilson, the Environmental Health Program Manager of As You Sow, has kindly allowed Keep Antibiotics Working to share his blog on some of the shareholder activity of his organization.

Although many corporations still pollute waterways and finance shadowy lobbying groups, it’s getting harder for companies to outright deny scientific consensus.

Towards an Evidence-Based Antibiotics Policy

Data collection on antibiotic usage vital to shaping federal policy

Thomas Gremillion, Director, Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America

 

Since January of 2017, FDA’s Guidance 213 no longer allows medically important antibiotics to be used for growth promotion purposes, but how much of an impact has that policy had? What about other efforts to promote more judicious antibiotic use in animal agriculture? Where are farmers and ranchers making the most progress in reducing antibiotic use? What types of animal antibiotic use carry the highest risk of contributing to resistant infections in humans?

The Big Mac Can Make A Big Dent In Stopping Antibiotic Overuse

Matthew Wellington, U.S. PIRG Antibiotics Program Director

Most of us have had a hamburger or two under the golden arches.

But what many don’t know is that most beef in the U.S. is raised on the routine use of medically important antibiotics, a farming practice that’s reducing the effectiveness of our most foundational medicines.

For World Antibiotics Awareness Week: “'Seek Advice' and Raise your Antibiotics IQ”

Cameron Harsh, Senior Manager for Organic & Animal Policy at Center for Food Safety

Thanksgiving is just a week away, and it begs the question: will we still be thankful for antibiotics this time next year?

This week is the World Health Organization’s annual “World Antibiotics Awareness Week” raising global awareness of the antibiotic resistance crisis and encouraging action to preserve the efficacy of important medicines to fight life-threatening infections. 2017’s theme is “Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.”