Jan 152015
 

Human antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline are now commonly added to the feed used in pork, poultry and cattle feedlot operations. Antibiotics stimulate animal growth and improve their rate of survival from infections often received from living in confined and unsanitary conditions. The possibility of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in livestock transferring to humans through the consumption and handling of meat is supported by science. Chicken sampled from our supermarkets has been found to be contaminated with bacteria that are resistant to several types of human antibiotics. Advocates estimate that 70% of all antibiotics dispensed in the U.S. are now used in feedlot operations, often to speed the growth of herds and flocks. Recent government studies have found that at least 2 million Americans are treated each year for infections that no longer respond to antibiotics because of overuse in animals and people. This resistance is responsible for taking the lives of at least 23,000 people each year. Supporters of livestock antibiotics say these drugs help protect the health of farm animals and are necessary to ensure there is enough meat to feed the planet. They claim there could be a worldwide protein shortage if their industry discontinues the use of these drugs. Opponents say the confinement of many animals into crowded cages, rooms and pens cause injuries that can only be controlled with massive amounts of antibiotics. They claim that without the use of these antibiotics, industrial feedlots would not be profitable to operate in their present form. Instead, they would be forced to provide their animals with more space and allow them to grow naturally. Several years ago, the FDA requested the meat processing industry to voluntarily stop using antibiotics to speed animal growth, and to first obtain a prescription from a veterinarian if producers need to give these drugs to a sick animal. The industry has yet to comply with this request.

Pending Litigations:

S.1256 & H.R.1150 – Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current livestock antibiotics policy and wish to defeat S.1256 & H.R.1150

I support requiring an applicant for approval of a new animal drug that is a medically important antimicrobial to demonstrate that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health due to the development of antimicrobial resistance attributable to the non-therapeutic use of the drug, and wish to pass S.1256 & H.R.1150

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The E.coli 0157 bacterium is responsible for many of the tragic food poisonings that have occurred at fast-food restaurants in the past. The bacterium, often found inside the intestines of cattle, can contaminate meat that is improperly processed at slaughterhouses. Illness usually results from eating undercooked and contaminated ground beef. Industry advocates say one reason for this illness is that consumers are not handling and cooking beef properly. Critics say the production line speed at slaughterhouses, and the unwillingness to slow it down, are mostly to blame. Microbial contamination is monitored and controlled at several places along the production line by a process called the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system (HACCP). These checkpoints test and compare the amount of microbial contamination in random samples of beef on the processing line to levels that are considered acceptable and safe. Health advocates say meat-processing facilities allow too many microorganisms in our food supply. The Agriculture Department wants to list 6 additional strains of E.coli as adulterants, thus requiring the meat industry to test for them and recall any products contaminated with those strains. These “Big Six” E.coli strains are worrisome because they can cause Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, which among other things, can lead acute kidney failure in children. The meat industry says additional regulation is premature, unnecessary and that too little is known about these six strains of E. coli to justify new testing and recall requirements. The announcement of this rule change has been repeatedly delayed and advocates are worried that industry groups could persuade this administration, or a future one, to water-down or repeal the proposed “Big Six” rule. They wish to pass it into law.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current E.coli policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to require the Agriculture Department to list the “big six” E.coli strains as adulterants

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Salmonella and Listeria are bacteria that can be ingested by consuming contaminated food or water. Fecal contamination and improper handling and cooking of food are common sources. Tainted cantaloupes, whose rough skin can harbor the Salmonella bacterium, killed 33 people and sickened 146 across 11 states in 2011. Each year, approximately 42,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the U.S. but the actual number of infections may be much higher. The majority of outbreaks over the last two decades have been linked to raw poultry. People infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, a fever and abdominal cramps that usually last for four to seven days. Each Year, Listeria is responsible for causing 2,500 illnesses and the deaths of 500 Americans. The greatest threat of Listeriosis is from ready-to-eat products such as deli meats that do not require further cooking at home. Infection causes swelling in the lining of the small intestine and is treated with antibiotics. However, antibiotic-resistant Salmonella and Listeria are now making treatment more difficult, especially for children. In 2012, the Obama administration, lobbied by the produce industry, terminated the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program (MDP) that had been in operation for more than a decade. It conducted 80% of all federal produce testing for pathogens like Salmonella and Listeria on thousands of samples of fruits and vegetables gathered from 11 distribution centers each year. In its last days, the MDP was credited with averting a possible Salmonella outbreak when it discovered tainted spinach during one of its inspections. The FDA now has jurisdiction over the safety of our fruits and vegetables but this agency only conducts a fraction of the microbiological tests that MDP once did.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current Salmonella and listeria policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to reinstate funding for the Microbiological Data Program

 Posted by at 12:00 am