The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Email:,info(at)fwwatch(dot)org,Seth Gladstone -,

Americans to U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Preserve Life-Saving Medicines; Reduce Antibiotic Use in Food Animal Production

More than 100,000 citizens join scientific experts and public interest organizations in calling on FDA to tighten oversight and curtail misuse and overuse of antibiotics on industrial farms


On Thursday a broad coalition of organizations hand-delivered the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) more than 180,000 letters responding to
the agency's request for comments on rules governing the use of
antibiotics on industrial farms. By the tens of thousands, American
citizens have sent the FDA a clear message: antibiotics are a vital
foundation of public health in the United States; overuse and misuse has
created a threatening crisis of antibiotic resistance; and it is time
for the federal government to ensure strict veterinary oversight and
force the food animal industry to curtail the routine use of

The letters were collected by a coalition of organizations committed
to saving antibiotics as pillars of public health in the United States.
The groups include: Center for Food Safety; Center for Science in the
Public Interest; CREDO Action;; Farm Aid; Food &
Water Watch; Food Democracy Now!; The Humane Society of the United
States; Organic Consumers Association; and Union of Concerned

The correspondence from citizens responded to requests by FDA for
comments on two recent actions related to oversight and control of
antibiotic use in food animal production. In March, the FDA announced
its intention to alter its Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) guidelines,
which govern the role and procedures veterinarians must follow with
regard to prescribing antibiotic use in animal agriculture. In June, the
agency issued draft guidance calling on the food animal industry to
voluntarily curtail the non-judicious use of antibiotics on industrial
farms, which threatens human health.

Reflecting the view of leading scientific and health experts, the
citizen comments express concern that the planned revisions to VFD
guidelines could weaken veterinary oversight and controls on antibiotic
use on industrial farms and that the FDA guidance on non-judicious use
does not sufficiently curtail the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in
animals that are not sick.

Here are examples of comments sent to FDA:

  • "My healthy and gorgeous dream boy of a son, Simon, died within 16
    hours of his first symptoms. The cause: antibiotic resistance. Simon
    contracted an antibiotic resistant bacterium, MRSA (methicillin
    resistant Staphylococcus aureus). His infection could
    have been prevented years ago when bacteria actually succumbed to antibiotics."
  • "Take this opportunity to protect our food supply, our population,
    and the future of medicine with a meaningful regulation that helps to
    solve a dangerous current situation."
  • "Antibiotics in agriculture should be used under direct supervision of a veterinarian on individual animals."
  • "I am an infectious disease specialist, and well aware of the
    progressively increasing problem of resistant bacteria, now not only a
    problem in hospitalized patients, but in many individuals acquiring hard
    to treat infections in the community. Scientific research has
    established that the widespread non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in
    the raising of food animals, has contributed greatly to this problem. I
    strongly support new regulations to ban the use of antibiotics in feed,
    and restriction of antibiotics to treatment for infection, carried out
    by licensed veterinarians."

Together, the coalition of organizations is calling on FDA to heed
the overwhelming scientific evidence and outpouring of citizen concern
by (1) strengthening the agency's VFD guidelines and (2) making
mandatory, rather than voluntary, its June guidance to ensure that
antibiotics only be used under veterinary supervision to treat sick
animals, thus protecting human health.

News Media Contacts

Center for Food Safety: Paige Tomaselli, staff attorney, 619.339.3180,

Center for Science in the Public Interest: Jeff Cronin, director of communications, 202.777.8370,

CREDO Action: Adam Klaus, campaign manager, 415.369.2047, Jim Slama, founder and president, 708.763.9920,

Farm Aid: Hilde Steffey, program director, 617.354.2922,

Food & Water Watch: Darcey Rakestraw, communications director, 202.683.2467,

Food Democracy Now! Dave Murphy, founder and director, 917.968.7369,

The Humane Society of United States: Jordan Crump, public information officer, 240.654.2964,

Organic Consumers Association: Ronnie Cummins, national director, 218.349.3836

Union of Concerned Scientists: Brise Tencer, Washington representative, Food and Environment Program, 202.378.0606,

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

(202) 683-2500