Antibiotic medicines are losing effectiveness on humans due to their increased use in animal feed," said Margaret Mellon, Ph.D, JD, director of the food and environment program for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Animals raised in natural environments rarely require the use of antibiotics. Americans who choose meat produced this way are making conscious decisions to ensure that antibiotics will still be working when they or their family need them."
Beef and poultry are not currently required to bear labels that clearly explain the presence of or use of antibiotics in feed - even the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rules for meat labeled "natural" do not require all antibiotics be eliminated. According to the USDA, "natural" may be used on the label when products contain "no artificial ingredients and are no more than minimally processed."
In July 1998, the National Academy of Sciences, in a report prepared at the request of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, concluded 'there is a link between the use of antibiotics in food animals, the development of bacterial resistance to these drugs, and human disease' (www.nas.edu);
In October 2001, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a guest editorial titled `Antimicrobials in Animal Feed--Time to Stop' (nejm.org); In June 2001, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution opposing non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture (www.ama-assn.org)
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