One member of Congress has a question for the restaurants, retailers and processors who sell meat: “What’s in the beef?” And while they’re at it, she wants to know about pork and poultry too.
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has asked 60 companies to disclose their policies on antibiotic use in meat and poultry. “The US is facing a growing public health crisis in the form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and information about how these companies are contributing to its rise or resolution should be available to consumers. Very simply, consumers have a right to know what’s in their food.”
The only microbiologist in Congress, Rep. Slaughter knows a thing or two about the kind of public health crisis that can arise from the abuse of antibiotics. She is the author of legislation called PAMTA – the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act – which would prevent agricultural overuse of seven classes of antibiotics important for human health.
A newly-released study this week adds validity to her concerns, documenting the way that feeding antibiotics to livestock is creating antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ in humans. “We’re seeing this one coming,” said one author of the study on the growing trend of resistant infections showing up in humans. “The question is how often will this occur in the future if we don’t start controlling antibiotic use?”
Last year the FDA confirmed that 80% of antibiotics in the US are given to farm animals. The drugs are routinely fed to livestock to prevent the spread of infection, rampant in crowded and often unsanitary living conditions, and are also used as growth promoters.
Think it’s time to end the overuse of antibiotics for meat production? Take your voice straight to the top and add your name to this petition to the White House. After 25,000 people sign on, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.