Resisting antibiotic resistance

Posted November 23, 2004

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Dear New Farm,

As a physician, I applaud your Nov. 9 article: Water, antibiotics and Animal Farm: A U.S. ban on sub-therapeutic antibiotic use in livestock production is long overdue.

Unfortunately, it’s true that “Congress has found no political will to protect the food system” by stopping the “massive amounts of antibiotics … routinely mixed into feed in order to promote growth rather than combat disease and as prophylactic treatment to offset unnatural diets and unhealthy living conditions.” However, there is hope that Congress will take action in the near future because of growing public pressure to do so.

More than 370 agriculture, health and other organizations have endorsed bipartisan bills in both houses of Congress. “The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act” (S. 1460/ H.R. 2932) would phase out the routine use of antibiotics that are important in human medicine as feed additives. Endorsing groups include the American Medical Association, American Grassfed Association and American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

In the meantime, people who want to minimize their exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria in their food but cannot afford certified-organic products should visit the nonprofit website: It features over 5,000 listings of producers, markets and restaurants offering meat and dairy products produced without routine use of antibiotics, organic or otherwise.

David Wallinga, M.D., MPA
Director, Antibiotic Resistance Project
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 First Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
612-870-3418 (w)
651-699-6893 (h)


Editor's note: Take part in our Action Alert supporting the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (S. 1460/ H.R. 2932) and urge your elected officials to do something about this growing problem. You can also search for antibiotic-free meat and dairy products on our Farm Locator.