Letter to President Obama regarding antibiotic overuse in animal production

December 5, 2013

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

As business leaders committed to creating a more sustainable and healthy food system, we thank you for taking steps to help protect the public from drug-resistant bacteria by ending some of the most egregious misuses of antibiotics in the United States. Your administration has taken long-awaited steps by finalizing Food and Drug Administration Guidance #213 and issuing a proposed rule on the Veterinary Feed Directive. These two policies should end antibiotic use for growth promotion in food animal production and require veterinary oversight of antibiotics used in animal feed. We encourage you to continue this progress and call on drug companies to discontinue antibiotic use for disease prevention unless bacterial infection threatens animal health.

We have made it a priority to support business practices that do not endanger human health, striving every day to serve meat and poultry raised on farms where antibiotics are only used to treat sick animals. Serving thousands of pounds of meat to millions of customers annually, we prove that profitable and successful businesses do not need to sacrifice public health to feed a growing population. We are doing our part but need help from your administration as well.

Decades of science have proven that antibiotic overuse in livestock contributes to the growing crisis of antibiotic resistant infections in humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA, World Health Organization, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and hundreds of other scientific and public health groups have called for swift action to end these dangerous practices. The CDC recently declared that "much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and inappropriate," and that antibiotic resistance is an “urgent health threat” affecting every community.

During your reelection campaign, you told Scientific American: “my administration is taking steps to limit antibiotic use for livestock. This will help ensure that antibiotics are used only [to] address diseases and health problems, and not for enhancing growth and other production purposes.” We are encouraged that the Guidance will restrict the misuse of antibiotics for growth promotion, though other, non-therapeutic production purposes such as habitual disease prevention remain a concern. We urge your administration to disallow routine antibiotic use when there are no documentable signs of a disease threat. We also ask the FDA to monitor and report on progress in reducing antibiotic use and resistance.

On behalf of our customers, suppliers, and staff, we thank you for your leadership and ask that you take swift action to further protect the effectiveness of antibiotics in saving lives.

Sincerely,

PCC Natural Markets

More about: agriculture, farm bill, food systems, livestock

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