Congresswoman's call to reveal antibiotics in fast food

A fast food outlet signCompanies and businesses that make and sell fast food have been asked by a US Congresswoman to come clean about their policies on antibiotics in meat.

Louise Slaughter – who is a microbiologist as well as a politician – has written to more than 60 fast-food producers, processors and grocery chains, requesting that they disclose how much of their meat is antibiotic-free and how much is from animals routinely administered antibiotics.

“Very simply, customers have a right to know what is in their food,” she said.

“The US is facing a growing public health crisis in the form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and information about how these companies are contributing to its rise or resolution should be available to consumers.”

Last year in the US there were more outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant salmonella as a result of meat-eating than ever before, Slaughter said. Eighty per cent of antibiotics used in the US are administered to animals destined for human consumption.

In her letter to the fast food industry she observed that the practice of routinely administering livestock with drugs “has been shown to harm human health by contributing to diseases that do not respond to treatment.”

Congresswoman Slaughter is the author of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which aims to prevent the livestock industry overusing drugs to the detriment of human health.

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