Today the Food & Drug Administration’s Michael Taylor announced that the FDA will be asking pharmaceutical corporations to stop marketing their human-approved antibiotics to cattle, hog and poultry producers. Yes, that’s right: The FDA will be “asking” the corporations to stop what is widely considered a practice that is dangerous to both farm animals and those who eat them.
According to the FDA, drug corporations sold nearly 30 millions pounds of antibiotics to meat and poultry producers in 2011. That represents nearly 80% of all antibiotic sales in the nation, with the remaining 20% being for human uses.
This widespread use of antibiotics in farm animals being raised for human consumption is being blamed for the dramatic increase in bacterial infections that are antibiotic-resistant in humans. The overuse of antibiotics leads to bacterial resistance to the drugs over time. Antibiotic-resistant illnesses now claim the lives of over 20,000 U.S. citizens a year.
So why is the FDA merely “asking” for the drug corporations to do the right thing? That’s an easy one: Because the drug corporations all but run the FDA.
Take Michael Taylor, the FDA official who announced today’s FDA begging…I mean… asking. Taylor is the former attorney for and vice president of the Monsanto Corporation, where he helped usher in all kinds of dangerous food technologies like genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) before becoming an FDA regulator for those same technologies.
Today’s so-called “action” from Taylor and the FDA is an embarrassingly weak effort to combat a very serious problem in the U.S. food supply. The FDA has all the power and evidence it needs to do what must be done: Issue an immediate ban on the unnecessary use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry.
Until then, if you eat meat, protect yourself by seeking local and organic sources.