Bacteria 1, FDA 0 -- comment link to FDA
- NYT's Mark Bitman summarizes important information about antibiotic resistant bacteria we're likely to find in grocery stores (1). An article in Wired addresses similar concerns, provides a timeline of recent decades, and provides a link for contacting the FDA during the comment period (2). Perhaps surprisingly, even a Forbes columnist addresses the issue of readily available food contaminated by antibiotic resistant bacteria and the FDA's stance regarding antibiotic use in factory farms (3).
1. Bacteria 1, F.D.A. 0
By MARK BITTMAN
Earlier this month, the Maine-based grocery chain Hannaford issueda ground beef recall after at least 14 people were infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella. Chances are this is the first youâ€™ve heard of it. After all, itâ€™s not much compared to the 76 illnesses and one death back in August that led Cargillto recall almost 36 million pounds of ground turkey products potentially contaminated with drug-resistant salmonella. The particulars get confusing, but the trend is unmistakable: our meat supply is frequently contaminated with bacteria that canâ€™t readily be treated by antibiotics.
A study earlier this year by a nonprofit research center in Phoenix analyzed 80 brands of beef, pork, chicken and turkey from five cities and found that 47 percent contained staphylococcusaureus, a bacteria that can cause anything from minor skin infections to pneumonia and sepsis, more technically called systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and commonly known as blood poisoning â€” but no matter what you call it, plenty scary. Of those bacteria, 52 percent were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics. So when you go to the supermarket to buy one of these brands of pre-ground meat products, thereâ€™s a roughly 25 percent chance youâ€™ll consume a potentially fatal bacteria that doesnâ€™t respond to commonly prescribed drugs....
2. News: FDA Wonâ€™t Act Against Ag Antibiotic Use
Â Â Â By Maryn McKenna
Â Â Â December 23, 2011
With no notice other than a holiday-eve postingin the Federal Register, the US Food and Drug Administration has reneged on its long-stated intention to compel large-scale agriculture to curb over-use of agricultural antibiotics, which it had planned to do by reversing its approval for putting penicillin and tetracyclines in feed....
At the end of the Federal Register posting, the FDA says it is taking public comment on this issue, via the docket established for the draft guidance issued in 2010. That docket number is FDA-2010-D-0094-0002, and the formfor submitting comments is here
3. FDA reneges on promise to consider limits to animal antibiotics
Gergana Koleva, who writes about the intersection of consumer fraud, bioethics and health .
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will no longer consider withdrawing its approval for the routine use of penicillin and tetracyclines in food-producing animals, despite mounting evidence that traces of these drugs in retail meat reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans, the agency quietly announcedin the Federal Register the Thursday before Christmas.
The decision follows a decades-long campaign by consumer interest groups, and the agencyâ€™s own guidance issued 18 months ago, showing that antibiotic use in healthy livestock and poultry is unnecessary and poses a threat to public health....