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FDA appears poised to get off its fat behind

Published: September 16, 2010

Finally it appears that long overdue action is imminent on the national scandal of antibiotic use in animal feedlots. Doctors have long sought to limit our use of antibiotics to avoid the development of resistance; a grave concern, given that bacteria like the flesh eating staphylococcus aureus have already developed resistances to all forms of penicillin (a very mild case is pictured to the left).

Despite these public health concerns, meat producers have used 70% of these miracle drugs to boost production. Why do producers do this? Well, it turns out that for reasons not fully understood antibiotics promote growth in animals kept in crowded conditions. This growth allows producers to keep costs down while still earning their cut, and it helps satisfy America’s unhealthy obsession with increasing the portion of meat in our diets.  Fortunately for our health, such routine use is no longer going to be considered appropriate under FDA guidelines.

Human health has been threatened by this unnecessary practice. Though livestock producers argue that links between their concentration camp approach and human disease has yet to be proven, outbreaks of human disease HAVE been traced back to feedlot bred bacteria. Scientists and health officials say the FDA guidelines are too weak, suggesting that the practice be banned, as it has been in Europe since 2006.

One can hope that a ban of this ridiculous and dangerous practice does follow soon. Antibiotic resistant bacteria ARE a threat to public health. If this practice is not abated people are going to die, and you could very well be one of them. We’ll have more to say about this later.