Farm Bureau Urges Congress to Keep Food Safe

US - Lawmakers must reject proposed legislation that does not reflect the Food and Drug Administration’s findings on antibiotic use in livestock, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The proposed bill (H.R. 962/S. 549) would remove important antibiotics and classes of antibiotics from the market, handicapping veterinarians and livestock and poultry producers in their efforts to maintain animal health and protect the nation’s food supply.
calendar icon 30 March 2007
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“In order to raise healthy animals, we need tools to keep animals healthy – including medicines that have been approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “To restrict access to these important tools will jeopardize animal health and compromise our ability to contribute to the public health through food safety.”

In a letter sent to the full House and Senate, Stallman said America’s farmers and ranchers use antibiotics carefully, judiciously and according to label instructions primarily to treat, prevent and control disease in livestock and poultry. He said antibiotics are critically important to the welfare of animals and the safety of food for consumers in the United States and abroad.

Stallman said the proposed legislation contradicts facts provided by the FDA. In more than 40 years of antibiotics being used in livestock and poultry, no public health issues have occurred and recent government data shows the potential that they might occur is declining. In addition, bacteria survival through food processing/handling is decreasing, food-borne illness is down, development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in animals is stable and resistant food-borne bacteria in humans are declining.

“We are urging Congress to trust those who know, rather than those who think they do,” said Stallman. “Congress needs to trust the judgment of veterinarians and livestock producers in providing safe and healthful meat products.”

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