FDA must act to remove antibiotics from animal feed: judge
A federal judge on Thursday ordered U.S. regulators to start proceedings to withdraw approval for the use of common antibiotics in animal feed, citing concerns that overuse is endangering human health by creating antibiotic-resistant "superbugs".
U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin proceedings unless makers of the drugs can produce evidence that their use is safe.
If they can't, then the FDA must withdraw approval for non-therapeutic use of those drugs, the judge ruled.
3. The Drug Store in Your Meat
You may not have heard of Fort Dodge, Elanco, or Intervet, animal divisions of Big Pharma, but you may well be "taking" their drugs. Government safety inspectors miss residues of penicillin and other antibiotics, parasite and anti-inﬂammatory drugs and heavy metals in beef, says a 2010 Office of Inspector General report, allowing contaminated beef into food supply. For other toxins like dioxin, lindane and ﬁre retardants, inspectors do not even have "established action levels" to test for. Four plants, with an astounding 211 drug residue violations, were given a pass says the OIG report. Worse, unlike germs like salmonella or E. coli, drug and metal residues aren't neutralized by cooking and can even turn into more dangerous compounds when heated.
4. "Free Antibiotics" in Food and Water
One of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's last legislative ﬁghts was about the overuse of livestock antibiotics. "It seems scarcely believable that these precious medications could be fed by the ton to chickens and pigs," he wrote in the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. Over 70 percent of antibiotics go to livestock, not to people, says the bill and 48 percent of national streams are tainted with antibiotics. Other reports say that almost half of Midwest hog farms harbor the antibiotic resistant germ, MRSA, and 64 percent of workers carry it. Are people who don't eat meat or drink tap water safe? Guess again. Crops themselves can harbor antibiotics, say food researcher, siphoning them right up from the soil.
5. Meat Inspection by the "Have a Cup of Coffee and Pray" Method
Once upon a time, federal meat inspectors visually examined carcasses for wholesomeness. But under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), implemented in 2000, inspectors now simply ratify that companies are following their own self-created systems--as in "Trust us." Soon after HACCP, 80 percent of inspectors surveyed said that HACCP limited their ability to enforce the law and the public's right to know about food safety. Almost 20 percent said they'd been told to not document violations. And 62 percent of inspectors said they allowed contamination like feces, vomit, and metal shards in food on a daily or weekly basis since HACCP. No wonder HACCP has been been dubbed "Have a Cup of Coffee and Pray."
6. A Delicacy from Hell
Foie gras is a "delicacy" that requires the indelicate force-feeding of geese and ducks to bloat their livers. Video shows birds with bloody throats, barely able to walk and struggling to breathe. Yet Big Food, restaurateurs and even the American Veterinary Medical Association defend the gratuitous cruelty lest veal crates and other extreme "production agriculture" be questioned next. Foie gras is banned in Europe and other countries but a 2007 foie gras ban in Chicago drew ridicule from the Chicago Tribune's food critic ("Has City Council ﬁnally quacked?" Will "quack-easies" surface?) and a Foie Gras Fest backlash from area chefs who served five-course foie gras meals. P.S. The ban was repealed.
7. Extreme Growth Promoters
Many of the growth promoters used in US meat production are banned in other countries. Europe boycotts US beef because of hormones like oestradiol-17 and trenbolone acetate which it says are linked to prostate and breast cancer. The EU also disallows farmers to use antibiotics and arsenic as growth promoters, which the US does. (Yes, arsenic.) Still, it is some consolation that most US growth promoters are withdrawn in the weeks before slaughter. Not so with ractopamine, an asthma-like drug given to 60 to 80 percent of US pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle and an undisclosed number of turkeys. Ractopamine, which few are aware of, is given during the last weeks of life and not withdrawn before slaughter.