For Immediate Release

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Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, kfried@fwwatch.org

Obama’s Antibiotic Plan Fails to Address Overuse on Factory Farms

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

WASHINGTON - “Today the White House released its ‘National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria,’ which is intended to protect the public from antibiotic resistant infections. Unfortunately, the plan falls short of protecting the public from this looming public health crisis in that it fails to adequately address the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms, relying on FDA’s limited efforts to change practices through voluntary guidance.

“Food & Water Watch supports the plan’s call for USDA and FDA to research and promote alternatives to antibiotic use in livestock and poultry. Such research is necessary to support a transition away from non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics. But this is not enough.

“80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are used on factory farms. Every year, over two million Americans suffer from antibiotic resistant infections, and 23,000 people die from them. The Food and Drug Administration has been aware of the problems associated with the misuse of these critical, life saving drugs since at least 1977, but has not required factory farms to stop misusing them.

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“Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that curbing the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms would address this public health crisis and help maintain the effectiveness of these critical, life saving drugs, the meat industry continues to oppose meaningful regulation on how it uses antibiotics.

“Ultimately the National Action Plan is a missed opportunity to take more aggressive action. That is why we need federal legislation like the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act that would end the overuse of medically important antibiotics in livestock production. This is what it will take to combat this public health crisis.”

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