Target: Margaret Hamburg, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner
Goal: Set standards for antibiotic content in Chinese animal products
More antibiotics are produced and consumed in China than anywhere else in the world, four times as much as in the US, yet the country does little to monitor antibiotic usage in farm animals or the environmental impact it has. When antibiotics are used on livestock unchecked, the animals begin to develop ARGs—antibiotic resistant genes—which can, in turn, cause harm to humans who eat meat. By empowering bacteria, these genes can cause antibiotic-resistant illness in people.
Recently, Michigan State University and the Chinese Academy of Science conducted a collaborative study of antibiotic use in China. On Chinese pig farms specifically, they found almost 150 ARGs, at levels over 200 times higher than normal.
Researchers assert that, although China was the target of this study, it reflects a worldwide trend. Furthermore, ARGs tend to spread to animal populations outside of the one in which they developed. This is because animals overloaded with antibiotics release them as manure, which is then spread over feed crops or washed away into the groundwater supply. International trade in meat, feed, and livestock can also spread these genes.
Demand that the US Food and Drug Administration set antibiotic guidelines for the importation of any meat, feed, or livestock from China.
Dear Ms. Hamburg,
The Chinese meat industry uses four times as many antibiotics as the US, with little oversight or regulation. This has caused the proliferation of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs), which are a danger to human health. These ARGs are spread to the US via international trade in meat, feed, and livestock.
Please set standards for antibiotic levels in animal products imported from China. By refusing to set standards of their own, Chinese leaders are nullifying the power of existing antibiotics and endangering both humans and animal populations worldwide.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: edmittance via flickr