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Government Science

FDA Backtracks On Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Proposal 172

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The FDA recognized, 35 years ago, that feeding animals low-doses of certain antibiotics used in human medicine — namely, penicillin and tetracyclines — could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria capable of infecting people who eat meat, and proposed to withdraw approval for the use of those antibiotics in animal feed. Instead of acting upon the proposal, the FDA has now withdrawn it. Although admitting that it continues to have 'concerns' about the safety of the use of antibiotics in animal feed, the FDA says that it will just continue to rely on 'voluntary self-policing' by the industry, the same method which hasn't worked out too well during the past 35 years, as antibiotic use in livestock and antibiotic resistance have continued to rise throughout the entire period."
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FDA Backtracks On Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Proposal

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  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:21AM (#38524808)

    FDA continues to admit it's useless and just likes to thrash its arms about in a non threatening manner. I guess I'm not surprised.

  • Follow the Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackpaw ( 240313 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:26AM (#38524844)

    Bet you it leads back to Industry.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:33AM (#38524870)

    Bet you it leads back to Industry.

    That or the FDA doesn't have the resources/funds to enforce new legislation.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:33AM (#38524874) Journal

    I think the problem is that the FDA has lost it's resistance to corporate sponsored corruption.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:37AM (#38524906)
    The FDA does what congress tells them to do, and getting (re)elected requires massive amounts of capital.
  • Re:good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by cgfsd ( 1238866 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:42AM (#38524932)
    If enjoying the wonderful taste of a wood roasted tenderloin filet spreads the antibiotic-resistant bacteria around and in the process kills everyone, I am OK with that. We all die eventually, and if others can die for my happiness, cool! :)
  • Re:Greed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:11AM (#38525266)

    Another consequence of that greed : just about every poor person in America gets meat daily, which is vastly healthier than not eating meat . Just look to your southern neighbor, Mexico, where the poor get beans on a tortilla with maybe a piece of chicken leg on sunday. The further south, the worse it gets.

    It's painfully obvious as we watch those same poor Americans waddle around that we have absolutely NO right whatsoever to use the words "vastly healthier" when trying to defend anything related to our diet, including meat. Let's also not forget that we're here debating over the fact that meat isn't really meat anymore, and the artificial influences inflicted upon it really tend to question the overall benefit. This ain't your Grandpas chicken anymore.

    And "vastly healthier" could be scientifically argued and proven wrong within the vegetarian community...not that you really need to when a simple visual comparison between the two groups is obvious enough.

  • Blatant trolling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:11AM (#38525278)
    This summary might be the most misleading I've ever seen on slashdot.

    For one thing, the FDA has almost no authority in many of their jurisdictions; they can recommend things, but in most cases have no power to change policy or punish reckless companies. This is especially true with meat and produce. Do some googling about dirty slaughterhouses and meat packing plants and you'll find accounts of the FDA actually pleading with meat packers and state health districts to stop distributing meat from plants that had floors, walls, and packing equipment test positive for wide varieties of serious food-borne pathogens. The same goes for packing plants that had open holes in the walls and ceilings, or rodents literally scurrying underfoot on the packing line. The FDA had absolutely no authority to mandate closure of those plants, and still doesn't as far as I know.

    They shouldn't have withdrawn their recommendation against antibiotics in feed (saying the right thing is never wrong in science), but that recommendation never affected policy in the first place; it's total bullshit to imply, quite strongly, that the FDA just doesn't care anymore and thinks it's totally fine for meat producers to inspect themselves.

    They don't think it's fine; they fucking hate it. At least the scientists do, and the field inspectors do. The FDA does have a lot of senior management who, by many internal accounts, dedicate themselves solely to rubber-stamping industry proposals - and harassing any pissant scientist who objects. If this new policy is half as blase or half as scientifically ignorant as the linked article implies, and indeed came about to dodge a lawsuit, you can bet it came from some ass-covering prick at the top who doesn't represent the viewpoints of even 10% of the FDA staff.

    So ultimately, the FDA doesn't have the mandate, the funding, or the legal prerogative to do even one-tenth as much as the scientists and lower-management would like - and which organizations like the NRDC expect them to do. The politically appointed senior management pull bullshit like this, and people like the NRDC and the submitter use corruption at the highest levels to denigrate a lot of dedicated, well-meaning scientists by calling the whole organization a bunch of lazy sociopaths.

    If you want safe food and better drug testing then don't piss on the FDA: you should bitch at Congress about the fucking pro-corporate morons they appoint to lead the FDA, and about the shitty laws and budgets that leave the FDA with not even half the money and authority they need to do the job we expect of them.
  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:21AM (#38525394) Journal
    As I understand it this is how it works, they give cows and pigs antibiotics in low doses so they won't get sick in the crowded feeding yards. There is not a problem with the bacteria in cows and pigs being resistant because properly handling and cooking the meat will kill the bacteria, and sick animals are treated before they are slaughtered. However the antibiotics are still in the cows and pigs and are passed on to the consumer, at those low doses bacteria will not be completely eliminated and can become resistant to them. Once the person is sick they will spread the more resistant bacteria to anyone they come in contact with. So it's not a problem that the vegetarians are immune too, vegetarians can't make the bacteria any stronger, but still can get the illness.
  • by Vegan Cyclist ( 1650427 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:39PM (#38528114) Homepage
    How did this trash get modded up? There are cultures that have existed for millennium without eating meat: take a look at India. I guess my card must be up, as i've been vegan since 1990.

    The position of the ADA (and Canadian mirror agency) state: vegan diets are appropriate for people at all stages of the life cycle -- even people at crucial stages, such as growing children, pregnant or lactating women, and highly active athletes.

    I know of third generation vegans (their grandparents became vegan, had children who remained vegan, and their children in turn are vegan.)

    What nonsense.. 20 years...?? And of all thing: scurvy on a vegan diet? You understand Vitamin C comes from plants, and is not found in any animal products? Most meat-eaters are found to be LOW on the intake of Vitamin C, and thus at more risk of scurvy than most vegans.

    I don't mind if people have legitimate issues against veganism, but this is ridiculous and patently ignorant.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming