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Activist groups defeated in attempts to curb antibiotic use

Two activist efforts recently suffered defeats in attempts to curb antibiotic use in US animal agriculture, according to a report in Influence Feed.

The Second Circuit of the US Court of Appeals denied a petition by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), ruling the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have to curtail use of the antibiotics in animals.

In response, food writer Ruth Reichl penned a stern July 30 op-ed in The New York Times, “The FDA’s Blatant Failure on Food,” in which she called Guidance 213 “toothless” and the federal appeals court ruling “appalling.”

According to Influence Feed, the vast majority of influencer shares were supportive of her position, including sustainability speaker Marc Gunther, Superbug author Maryn McKenna, Civil Eats‘ Naomi Starkman, Food Babe Vani Hari and food writer Jane Black.

However, food writer James McWilliams found fault with Reichl’s broad call to action, questioning the weight of the op-ed: “All the bigwig food guys in the Twittersphere are acting as if the wheel has been reinvented by the article.”

Additionally, on July 31, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) rejected a petition in which the CSPI had requested that antibiotic-resistant Salmonella be declared an adulterant.

The move caused food safety attorney Bill Marler to declare, “It’s a good day to be Salmonella” and CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal to state, “USDA’s failure to act on antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella in the meat supply ignores vital information about the public health risk posed by these pathogens.”

In its response, the FSIS explained, “In the absence of a clear association with human illness, FSIS does not consider raw meat and poultry products … to be adulterated when they include Salmonella because ordinary methods of cooking and preparing food kill Salmonella.”

Visit Influence Feed for more industry trends and insights from key opinion leaders.

Posted on August 13, 2014

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