The USDA’s acting chief scientist, Chavonda Jacobs-Young, has publicly criticized the World Health Organization’s updated recommendations for curbing antibiotic use on farms, citing poor science.
The amount of antibiotics sold for use in livestock in the United States has dropped for the first time since data collection began, according to FDA numbers. The data also show for the first time which types of meat animals are receiving the most antibiotics. (No paywall)
In a major new statement about the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture, the World Health Organization is urging livestock agriculture and fish farming worldwide to sharply cut antibiotic use, reserving the precious drugs for animals that are sick and then choosing only antibiotics that are not important to human medicine. (No paywall)
Federal researchers say multi-drug resistance has increased to 12 percent of salmonella bacteria found in the digestive systems of ill people, up from 9 percent in the previous year. Salmonella is a common type of food-borne illness estimated to affect 1 million Americans annually and to cause 380 deaths a year.
Antibiotic-resistant infections — everything from gastrointestinal illnesses to recurring urinary tract infections and staph — are among the most menacing issues in public health today, sickening 2 million people a year and killing at least 23,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So perhaps it’s not surprising that government has begun to take steps to limit antibiotics in animal agriculture, where many of these infections arise, before they wreak further havoc in humans.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote next Tuesday on an ordinance that would require large grocers in the city to report on antibiotics used in producing the meat they sell, says the San Francisco Examiner. The information would be made public in an effort “to use the power of the consumer to force marketplace change.”
Fourteen of the top 25 restaurant chains in the United States are telling farmers to restrict the routine use of antibiotics in chickens, compared with nine a year ago, according to the annual Chain Reaction report. “While restaurant chains made great progress on chicken, the groups found that there were no new commitments to limit antibiotic use in beef and pork.”
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.
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 …