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Applegate CEO Worries FDA Plan To Address Antibiotics In Animal Agriculture Is Too Little, Too Late

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Stephen McDonnell, founder and CEO of Applegate, the leading producer of natural and organic meats and cheeses, today expressed concern regarding the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) attempt to curb the overuse of antibiotics in food animal production.

"Before we do a victory dance to celebrate the FDA's 'crackdown' on antibiotic use, we need to take a closer look at what the agency is really doing," said McDonnell.  "The FDA is moving in the right direction by acknowledging that there is a problem, but it's not one we'll be able solve by relying on self-regulation and voluntary compliance. The industry has always had the opportunity to voluntarily stop using antibiotics. But instead, antibiotic use in animal agriculture has increased, despite warnings that this practice leads to antibiotic resistance in humans."

According to government reports, nearly 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. go to animals raised for food.

The non-binding FDA guidance states that antibiotics should be used only when necessary to keep animals healthy and only under the supervision of a veterinarian. Additionally, the agency is requesting cooperation from drug manufacturers to remove non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics (such as growth promotion) from drug labels. Cooperation with the new recommendations is strictly voluntary, and the pharmaceutical and animal agriculture industries have three years to work within the voluntary measures before the FDA evaluates the efficacy of the plan.

"Under this guidance, antibiotics can still be used to prevent disease, which most likely means millions of pounds of antibiotics will go to animals to make up for crowded and unsanitary conditions in some industrial animal agriculture operations," says McDonnell. "Health experts are proclaiming that antibiotic resistance is the single biggest threat to human health in the 21st century, and the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture is a contributing factor.  In fact, this year nearly 2 million people in the U.S will contract serious antibiotic resistant diseases and 23,000 will die from them.  Superbugs are a crisis right now; I don't think we have the luxury of waiting three years to see how the FDA's plan works out." 

Applegate is committed to educating the public about the dangers of antibiotic overuse in animal agriculture and its effects on the environment and human health. Applegate, in partnership with STOP Foodborne Illness, launched Citizens Against Superbugs in December 2011. McDonnell also is supporting a documentary about the topic, "Resistance."

About Applegate
For more than 25 years, Applegate has been producing high-quality natural and organic hot dogs, bacon, sausages, deli meats, cheese and frozen products.  Natural can mean many things, but when Applegate says their products are natural, consumers are guaranteed that the meat inside is:

  • Raised without antibiotics or hormones
  • From animals fed a vegetarian or 100% grass diet and treated with humane animal standards
  • Free of added chemical nitrites, nitrates or phosphates
  • Free of artificial ingredients or preservatives

For more information about our products, visit

Video with caption: "A clip from the documentary, "Resistance," featuring Dr. Lance Price, microbiolgist from the Translational Genomics Research Institute, describing the antibiotic resistance "cliff.". Video available at:

SOURCE Applegate
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