Sierra Club Calls For End to Routine Antibiotic Use

Dec 11, 2002
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Two new research studies have brought renewed calls for an end to the routine use of antibiotics in livestock.

The results of a study published in the January issue of Consumer Reports found that 49 percent of the chickens bought at supermarkets were contaminated with Campylobacter and/or Salmonella bacteria.

A second study carried out by the Sierra Club and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found 95 percent of chickens tested were contaminated with Campylobacter and 45 percent of the ground turkey was found to have Salmonella. The study’s authors reported that approximately 62 percent of the whole chickens and ground turkey tested were resistant to at least one antibiotic.

Navis Bermudez of the Sierra Club’s Clean Water Campaign said, “More than half of the estimated 24 million pounds of antibiotics fed to hogs, beef cattle and poultry each year to compensate for crowded, stressful conditions on factory farms are identical, or nearly identical, to the ones doctors rely on for treating sick people.”

David Wallinga, physician, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, added, “We can’t afford to play Russian roulette with our existing antibiotics because they are rapidly losing effectiveness — and only one new class has been developed in the last 25 years.”

Moderator’s Comment: What should the position of food
retailers be on the use of antibiotics in livestock?

Retailers should encourage suppliers to refrain from using
common antibiotics used in humans on livestock. They should also support legislation
supported by the American Medical Association and others calling for an end
to the use of these medicines. [George
Anderson – Moderator


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