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New Report Underscores Need for Congressional Action to Limit Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture
Date:1/30/2008

U.S. Fails to Take Basic Steps to Protect Public Health Even as New Tyson Label Responds to Public Concerns

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (http://www.pcifap.org) documents the perils of antibiotic use in factory farms and the many strains of antibiotic-resistant E-Coli, Salmonella, Camphylobacter, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and other bacteria that these facilities cause.

The report release comes a few days after Tyson Foods and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agreed on a new label for their chickens raised without antibiotics: "Chicken raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans." Tyson announced in June, 2007, that it would stop feeding antibiotics important in human medicine to their chickens, a move that advocated hailed as "a great step forward." But no other large meat producers have followed suit.

"The added voice of the Pew Commissioners to that of the American Medical Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America shows the need to stop factory farms from squandering the effectiveness of our antibiotic supply," said Richard Wood, Steering Committee Chair of the Keep Antibiotics Working coalition. "But lasting change will only come when the U.S. government decides to act. We hope that the Pew report will help spark that step."

The heavy use of antibiotics in industrialized livestock operations can select for resistant bacteria, such as MRSA. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70% of all the antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States are used as feed additives for chicken, hogs, and beef cattle. The new report details the many links between farm antibiotic use and the spread of resistant infections in humans.

Despite a long awareness of the link between farm antibiotic use
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SOURCE Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition
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