Monday, August 17, 2009

Indy Food Co-op Joins Groups to Educate on Antibiotic Resistance

Hog Roast featuring Antibiotic Free Pork
Coalition supports federal legislation targeting misuse of antibiotics at industrial livestock operations

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A coalition of businesses, environmental organizations, advocacy groups and public health representatives teamed up at an Indianapolis hog roast to support for federal legislation that targets antibiotic misuse at industrial livestock operations. Approximately 70% of all antibiotics sold in this country are used on livestock – poultry, cattle and pork, especially at industrial livestock operations where conditions can be unsanitary, crowded and stressful.

The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) (H.R. 1549/S.619) would phase out the non-therapeutic use of human medicines as growth promoters on livestock, unless manufacturers can prove no danger to public health. The bill was introduced by Representative Louise Slaughter and Senators Ted Kennedy and Olympia Snowe, and Indiana Representative Andre Carson (D-Indianapolis) is one of the co-sponsors of the House bill.

“The routine use of antibiotics on animals that are not sick makes our human medicines less effective. PAMTA will help ensure that life-saving antibiotics remain effective in the treatment of human diseases,” said Jerry King, executive director of the Indiana Public Health Association.

Dr. Stephen J. Jay, M.D. agrees “Disease organisms can become resistant to antibiotics when exposed to low doses over time. Antibiotic resistant organisms such as MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphlycoccus aureus) can be life-threatening and very expensive to treat.”

Allen Hutchison of Randolph County farms next to a large dairy and says “I’m worried that my animals or my family members will become infected with antibiotic resistant disease organisms that may be very difficult and expensive to treat. We need legislation to protect us.”

Chris Eley, owner of Goose-the-Market, says “Selective consumers are also worried. We have built our business on the knowledge that consumers are interested in more wholesome foods.”

Renee Sweany, board member for the Indy Food Cooperative says “People have a growing concern about where their food comes from and its impact on their health and the environment. I'm proud to be a member of the Indy Food Co-op because it provides products without antibiotics and other chemicals in a very under-served community.”

Benton County farmer Joe Hiscox says “The increased risks and costs are unnecessary. Farmers can achieve high levels of productivity by raising animals under less crowded and less stressful conditions.”

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