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Hospitals and Health Professionals Ask FDA to Comply With Court Order and to Evaluate Medically Important Antibiotics in Animal Food

Court Directed FDA to Withdraw Approval for Use of Penicillin and Tetracyclines in Animal Feed

RESTON, VA -- (Marketwire) -- 07/24/12 -- Health Care Without Harm has submitted Comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on behalf of 45 hospitals and medical societies and 359 health and healthcare professionals concerned about overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. The comments submitted on behalf of hospitals and health professionals were part of a larger effort by individuals and organizations from across the country urging the FDA to act regarding protecting medically important antibiotics.

In its comments, HCWH urged the FDA to carry out, as directed by recent court decisions, withdrawal proceedings for the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed and to evaluate the safety of using other medically important antibiotics in animal foods to protect human health. HCWH also urged FDA not to replace enforceable limitations on antibiotic use with voluntary guidance.

"The world has a limited array of drugs that can be used for treatment of infections and other illnesses, and many of these are at risk of losing effectiveness because of the growth of antibiotic resistance," said Michelle Gottlieb, co-chair, HCWH Healthy Food in Health Care program. "There is no reason to risk these life-saving drugs simply to grow larger poultry, pigs and cattle, when other husbandry methods might be just as effective. We urge the FDA to take these important steps towards improving the health of our food system and protecting human health."

The comments were part of a collaborative effort with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to inform and engage the health community in this critically important regulatory discussion. Other organizations also rallied comments from other sectors including, a letter signed by 270+ chefs; 219,113 individual comments, and letters signed by many organizations and food companies including Niman, Applegate, Stonyfield, Chipotle, and Organic Valley. 35,000 comments were submitted on behalf of Food Democracy, which asked the FDA to curb the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

FDA also received more than 93,000 comments from [email protected] alone asking to end the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture; dozens of individual letters from doctors/scientists; and dozens of letters from individual farmers.

For news about this action and to keep up with ongoing coverage of this issue, visit:

Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of more than 500 organizations in 53 countries, working to transform the health care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. For more information on HCWH, see www.noharm.org.

The Healthy Food in Health Care (HFHC) Program is a national initiative of HCWH, developed in conjunction with its member organizations, which mobilizes advocates to work with hospitals across the country to help improve the sustainability of their food services. The program provides education, tools, resources, and support to health care facilities making the connection between the health of their patients, staff and community and the food they serve. Ultimately the program works to support hospitals in leveraging their purchasing power and health expert status to promote a healthier food system. By purchasing foods that are produced, processed and transported in ways that are protective of public and environmental health, hospitals can make a profound difference in the market and in the food settings of the people they serve.

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