Report: Many options for replacing antibiotics in meat supply, but is demand high?

Since the FDA began moving three years ago to control antibiotic use in meat animals — an effort that culminated in January with a ban on growth-promoter antibiotics, which fatten livestock inexpensively — farmers have wondered whether anything can take the drugs’ place.

Pig-related infections spread in Denmark, may be in U.S. too

A recent study from Denmark shows that a strain of drug-resistant staph carried by pigs is causing severe illnesses in people who have no contact with pigs or farms. The infections have occurred even though Denmark has some of the most stringent controls on antibiotic use and the study’s …

Scientists strengthen a durable antibiotic against bacterial resistance

Doctors have prescribed the antibiotic vancomycin for 60 years against disease and infections in people "and bacteria are only now becoming resistant to it," says Britain's Press Association. "Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in the United States have now modified the drug so it works in three separate ways on bacteria, making it much harder for them to develop resistance."

Maryland joins California in restricting use of antibiotics on livestock

Gov. Larry Hogan stood aside and let a Maryland law take effect without his signature that will bar use of medically important antibiotics to promote weight gain among cattle, hogs and poultry. The Maryland law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, the same implementation date as a similar law enacted in 2015 in California, the only other state to control antibiotic use with the goal of preserving the effectiveness of the drugs to fight disease in humans.

Shareholders, activists pressure restaurants on antibiotic use in meat

Activism around the contentious issue of giving antibiotics to meat animals is moving from the farm to the plate by putting pressure on restaurant chains. Last week, a coalition of 30 consumer and environmental groups pressed the cult California burger chain In-N-Out to change its antibiotics-related buying policy. At the same time, a shareholder group pushed McDonald’s to increase its antibiotic-free buying — and while the measure did not pass, 30 percent of shareholders voted for it.

Is the ocean spreading antibiotic resistance?

Scientists with the Surfer Biome Project are investigating whether antibiotic-resistant microbes can be spread though ocean water, says The New York Times. By taking samples from surfers’ mouths, bodies, and boards, the project hopes to learn how easily resistant organisms can pass into the human body.

CARB-X makes first grants to spur development of new antibiotics

An international partnership created to encourage development of new antimicrobials and diagnostics awarded $24 million to scientists pursing 11 projects with an additional $24 million possible over three years, if the researchers make progress. It was the first round of money from the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Accelerator (CARB-X), formed last July with a goal of investing $450 million over five years.

Interview: Perdue finds animal welfare makes a better bird

Animal-welfare measures created last year by giant poultry company Perdue Farms Inc., in a break with traditional poultry raising practices, are starting to show results, Perdue executives said last week. In an interview in Atlanta at the International Production and Processing Expo, the largest annual meeting of the poultry business, Perdue chairman Jim Perdue and Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, senior vice president of food safety, quality and live operations, told FERN’s Ag Insider the measures, which focus on “what a chicken wants,” are producing more active, higher quality birds.

Use antibiotics less often, say British cattle veterinarians

Building on a 10 percent reduction in the use of antibiotics to treat farm animals, the British Cattle Veterinary Association is encouraging its members and the cattle industry to further reduce the use of the antimicrobials, says The Cattle Site, a website for industry news. The recommendations are aimed at lower overall use of antibiotics and minimizing critically important antibiotics, such as cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and colistin.

Uncertain outlook for food policy in Trump era, say experts

President-elect Donald Trump attacked over-regulation by the government during his campaign, so "big questions have arisen over how far he'll go," said Civil Eats, which spoke to food-policy activists about the outlook. With Republicans in control of Congress, the budgets of the EPA and the FDA could come under attack, but it would be very difficult to eliminate an agency like EPA, said food-safety advocates.