Target: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Goal: Have meat and poultry products labeled with the antibiotics consumed by animals.
Antibiotics are widely used in the United States meat industry. From preventing diseases to making animals grow faster, antibiotics are often included in farm animal dietary supplements or medications. However, scientists are raising concerns that this overuse of antibiotics poses health risks for people. Because of this, consumers should be aware of the antibiotics that are being fed to the animals used for consumption.
The issue with overusing antibiotics is that it may lead to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on farms and decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics. If a group of animals is treated with a certain antibiotic over time, then eventually the bacteria living in those animals will become immune to the drug. Similarly, if a person becomes ill from ingesting the resistant bacteria through improperly cooked meat, he or she may not respond to antibiotic treatment. In addition, once the bacteria become immune to the drug, producers may have to administer more antibiotics or different types to the animals in order to control the spreading of diseases.
80% of all antibiotics sold in the United States goes to the meat and poultry industry. However, there is a lack of data on what types of animals are ingesting which antibiotics, and in what quantities, as meat producers are not required to publish this information. It is difficult for consumers to understand the health risks behind antibiotic-resistance in food without knowing exactly what they are eating.
There are several meat and poultry producers who do not administer antibiotics to their animals. However, for the producers that still do, it is important to inform the general public about which antibiotics are used. This simple step of labeling the product could prevent thousands of deaths a year from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Sign the petition below and urge the FDA to require antibiotic labeling on all meat and poultry products.
Dear Food and Drug Administration,
Given the recent shift toward organic, all-natural, and healthy foods, I find it alarming that many meat and poultry producers are widely using, and oftentimes overusing, antibiotics. Antibiotics are fed to the animals to make them grow faster or prevent the spread of diseases. If antibiotic use is necessary in this industry, then I would like to propose to have all meat and poultry products labeled with the antibiotics consumed by the animals.
As you may know, overusing antibiotics will lead to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics. When animals are treated with an antibiotic over time, the bacteria living within those animals will eventually become immune to the drug. This poses a problem if a person ingests the resistant bacteria via improperly cooked meat and cannot be properly treated since the bacteria does not respond to antibiotic treatment. Currently, meat and poultry producers are not required to publish information on what types of antibiotics the animals are ingesting and in what quantities. In the United States, thousands of deaths occur each year from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. If consumers are more aware of the antibiotics that they are ingesting, then many infections could be prevented. Please consider requiring all meat and poultry producers to include ingested antibiotics on their product labels.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kumbayo via Wikimedia Commons