June 29, 2011

A re-introduced Senate bill seeking to limit use of antibiotics in food animal feed and a USDA report summarizing dozens of reports that claim a link between overuse of antibiotics and accelerated antibiotic resistance in humans has given critics fresh momentum in the ongoing debate.
The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), recently re-introduced by a group of bi-partisan senators led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would phase out non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in livestock; require new applications for animal antibiotics to their use will not endanger public health; and would not restrict the use of antibiotics to treat sick livestock or to treat pets.
PAMTA has a cousin in the House, introduced by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).


Meanwhile, a new technical review by USDA’s Food Safety Research Information Office summarizes 63 studies on the topic and illustrates, among other key points, that “use and misuse of antimicrobial drugs in food animal production and human medicine is the main factor accelerating antimicrobial resistance.” Animal agriculture groups such as the National Pork Producers Council and the American Veterinary Medical Association contend antibiotics are vital for the health and care of livestock and say critics’ claims that antibiotic use in livestock raises the risk of bacterial resistance in humans are not supported by science.


Source: Hoosier Ag Today