Routine dosing of farm
animals with cephalosporin antibiotics to prevent disease and promote growth
would be prohibited effective October 1, 2008.
"We are issuing
this order based on evidence that extralabel use of these drugs in
food-producing animals will likely cause an adverse event in humans and, as
such, presents a risk to the public health."
No kidding. The
American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Infectious
Disease Society of America, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pew
Commission have all indicted livestock antibiotics for creeping human
antibiotic resistance--including to last chance antibiotics.
Antibiotic-Resistant Bugs in the 21st
Century--A Clinical Super-Challenge," read an article in the January 29,
2009 New England Journal of Medicine.
But on November 25
after getting a trough full from agribusiness and big pharma--70 percent of
whose antibiotic sales are agricultural--the FDA quietly revoked the ban to
"more fully consider the many substantive comments it received" about
Even the Subcomittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry hearings on the Hill in September flew under
They were called hearings
to "review advances in animal health within the livestock industry."
Still the assemblage
of reps from the egg, chicken, turkey, milk, pork and cattle industries and the
Animal Health Institute representing Monsanto, Pfizer, Dow, Bayer, Wyeth,
Novartis et al. left no doubt whose factory farms were threatened by national
(Nor did the American Veterinary Medical Association headed by former
USDA top vet Ron DeHaven fail to side with factory farmers against its own
turkeys without antibiotics would increase the incidence of illness in turkey
flocks," whined Dr. Michael Ryblot, Director, Scientific & Regulatory
Affairs, National Turkey Federation, who called a typical 227-acre turkey farm
Turkeys couldn't be
crammed together without antibiotics which "would result in a decrease in
density or an increase in the amount of land needed to raise the additional
turkeys needed to meet the consumer demand," admitted Ryblot.
And since animals on growth-producing antibiotics need less food because
feed is assimilated more efficiently, "an additional 175,500 tons of feed would be required for
the turkey industry," warned Ryblot-- real money.
And there was more.
You think our farms
produce a lot of waste now, said Ryblot. Take turkeys off their round-the-clock
meds and "the decrease in feed conversion" will result "in an
increase in manure," and more land tied up in crop production, he
testified. Take that, environmentalists.
Dr. Robert D. Byrne, Senior Vice President, Scientific & Regulatory
Affairs, National Milk Producers Federation conceded that antibiotic-laced "milk replacer"
is fed to from 22 to 70 percent of all dairy calves and that" dry
cow" treatments are "near universal" for cows on US farms.
But since milk is
tested for residues and farmers who dump "pos" milk in tankers must
pay for the entire tanker by way of punishment--nor can they sell more milk
"until a negative farm test result is obtained," so there--the public
Nor do you have to
worry about eggs.
inspections that found US hatcheries injecting antibiotics directly into eggs*
and studies that detect antibiotic
residue in egg yolks of treated chickens even after withdrawal periods and
cooking,+ antibiotics are not "a food safety issue for eggs" said Blair Van Zetten, on Behalf of
United Egg Producers at the hearings. Okaaaay.
Of course, most people realize antibiotics are probably in
the dead fish) and meat
. But so are resistant microbes, it turns out. Scientists at the University
of Iowa College of Public Health found methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
aureus (MRSA)--the granddaddy of antibiotic resistant mircobes-- in Iowa pigs
in the January 2009 journal, PLoS. And MRSA strains were found in beef, pork,
veal, lamb/mutton, chicken, turkey, fowl and game in a study in the December
2008 International Journal of Food Microbiology.
Now antibiotics are turning up in crops too.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota found antibiotic residues in
corn, potatoes, green onions, cabbage and lettuce after only six weeks of
greenhouse propagation with manure from treated livestock says Environmental
Health Service--much less time than the typical growing season.
"Around 90 percent of these drugs that are administered to animals
end up being excreted either as urine or manure," said Holly Dolliver from
the research team and professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of
In addition to MRSA like infections, cephalosporins
diarrhea, nausea, rash, electrolyte disturbances, vomiting, headache,
dizziness, oral and vaginal candidiasis, pseudomembranous colitis,
eosinophilia, clotting disorders, Antabuse-like reactions and fever. Not a
Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital also suspect antibiotics in the
epidemic of pediatric asthma and allergies. And what about our national obesity
ask others, given the fact that antibiotics fatten animals?
Meanwhile pharma sales to the ag industry--known as "advances in animal health within the livestock
industry" on the Hill--
percent in 2007 according to the Animal Health Institute.
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