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This week only—Watch Jeffrey Smith’s new GMO documentary free online

Courtesy of The Institute for Responsible Technology

This week only, watch for free online a new documentary that reveals the serious health impacts of genetically engineered foods in our diets and shows how you can protect your family.  Available from September 15th to September 22nd at www.GeneticRouletteMovie.com

It is in fact one of the most important stories ever told.—John Robbins, Bestselling author of Diet for a New America and Food Revolution

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives has audiences rushing home to clear out their cupboards of dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods. The evidence presented in the film makes the best case yet for why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are linked to disorders such as allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, infertility, autism, and cancer, to name a few. One health practitioner, Mary Tobin, L.Ac., said the film “provides abundant evidence that eating a GMO-free diet is the single most important change Americans can make for their health.

That evidence not only includes doctors and patients testimonials, but also veterinarians and famers who describe dramatic health improvements in animals that switched to non-GMO feed. The categories of diseases that improve in humans and animals are the ones found in lab animals fed GMOs.  And these are many of the same categories, e.g. immune, reproductive, and gastrointestinal disorders that have been on the rise in the US population since GMOs were introduced.

Exposing the Dark Side

This 85 minute documentary reveals, what Author John Robbins calls, “the bullying and deceit of the biotech industry,”— including manipulation of research, attacks on independent scientists and their findings, and infiltration and control of government regulators.

The film also reveals for the first time to horrific impact among workers on a South Africa farm, who were consuming a higher amount of GMO corn than probably any other group in the world.

Upbeat, Empowering and World Changing

Although this film’s eye-opening evidence in the film is sometimes shocking, it is by no means a downer. According to Robbins, it “shines a bright light of hope that we can reclaim our health and our food systems.”Smith explains that as little as 5% of the US population switching to non-GMO foods should deliver a tipping point, inspiring food companies to kick out GM ingredients. It was such a consumer rejection that already kicked GMOs out of Europe.

The film is being released right in the throes of the California campaign for Prop 37. If it passes in November, food companies will have to label products made with GM ingredients (like they do in nearly 50 other countries). Not only will this make it far easier for people to buy healthier non-GMO choices, the expected migration away from labeled GM products will probably accelerate the tipping point.

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives is a production of The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT).

Genetic Roullette unveils a world most of us have never seen. It raises alarming questions about GMOs, and we deserve answers. For all that you love, hear this message and act now. — Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives, from September 15-22. The film lays bare the serious health impacts of genetically modified foods (GM) as reported by scientists, doctors, veterinarians, as well as other experts. We are launching this free viewing week now because the movie can better equip voters in California with additional information on GMOs that they need to make sensible choices for Prop 37, which would require labels on GE foods. Otherwise they might fall prey to Monsanto’s multi-million dollar disinformation campaign.

Will Congress Let Monsanto Write Its Own Rules?

By Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety
Co-Authored by Colin O’Neil, Regulatory Policy Analyst at the Center for Food Safety
Reprinted by permission of the Center for Food Safety

 

The agricultural biotech industry — well, let’s call it what it really is: the chemical industry — has gone on the offensive as never before with a set of slippery policy riders to the House Farm Bill. It’s a new low even for an industry that has spent years and tens of millions of lobbying dollars trying to dismantle the basic safeguards that stand between a regulated, healthy food supply and the profit margins chemical industry executives pine for. If passed, these riders would undermine the few laws that are currently in place to protect farmers’ rights, our health and our environment from the many adverse impacts of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Waking to the news this morning that the bill reported out of committee late last night with this suite of riders perfectly intact should give everyone interested in a safer, more secure food supply (and U.S. economy, for that matter) a definite chill, even during these incredibly hot July days. Why? Because one important question has become very real: Will Congress let the chemical industry write its own rules?

Deliberately buried in the House Agriculture Committee’s voluminous discussion draft of the 2012 Farm Bill, these significant changes to the Plant Protection Act (PPA) — one of the few statues that regulate GE crops — will counter the gains that have been made to protect our food supply and the farmers who grow it. The provisions (Sections 10011, 10013 and 10014) would force the rushed commercialization of GE crops, create a backdoor approval for Dow’s “Agent Orange” corn and eliminate any meaningful review of the impacts of these novel crops.

Science and time have shown that GE crops cause significant harm to agriculture and the environment. The overwhelming majority of these novel crops are engineered to be resistant to herbicides, such as Monsanto’s Roundup, and have dramatically increased overall herbicide use by 382 million lbs. This spike has, in turn, caused an epidemic scourge of herbicide-resistant superweeds. And they have caused repeated transgenic contamination of non-biotech crop, costing farmers and businesses billions of dollars, as well as permanent contamination of the wild.

Federal courts have ruled for farmers, businesses and public interest plaintiffs numerous times, holding that USDA had violated federal law when approving GE crops by failing to adequately consider and regulate their harms. But rather than address these continued failures, the chemical industry’s allies in Congress are trying to change the law via the Farm Bill. The logic being: if you can’t win the game, change the rules.

These changes, if allowed to become law, would have numerous negative impacts and outlaw responsible governance. For example, one proposed rider would outlaw any review of GE crops’ impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other environmental laws. This suite of “biotech riders” would have a devastating impact on our country’s protection of endangered species. It would also outlaw review by any agency other than the USDA. As a result, the potential impacts of GE crops, including increased pesticide use, on endangered species and other wildlife would not be assessed by our expert wildlife agencies, allowing a GE crop approval to go forward, even if it would cause the extinction of a protected species. Such changes in regulation leave our protected wildlife populations in severe jeopardy and undermine the agencies working hard to ensure their survival. Instead, USDA would only be required to perform narrow, newly established cursory environmental analysis. It even goes so far as to prohibit the Department from using any funds to conduct any additional environmental analyses, even if a federal judge deems such analyses necessary.

To make matters worse, the proposed riders include several means for “backdoor” approvals of GE crops. One rider would allow potentially dangerous GE crops to be commercialized without necessary safety assessments by establishing deliberately impossible deadlines for USDA to meet. Under this provision, if USDA fails to review and approve a GE crop within the short agency deadline, an immediate “default” approval and commercialization would be granted. Thus commercialization of novel GE crops could occur without any agency analysis, let alone any approval, taking place. This new one-year deadline to approve or deny an application (with an optional 180-day extension) will put unreasonable pressure on the Department and will undoubtedly impact its willingness to even attempt rigorous risk assessments.

It’s no secret — our federal agencies are underfunded and already swamped with the important task of reviewing and assessing new industry products, including GE crops. To suggest that approval of new crops that are resistant to toxic pesticides — like 2,4-D and Dicamba — should occur “automatically,” without a thorough environmental and economic analysis, is absurd. It flies in the face of farmers’ basic rights to grow their crop of choice, be protected from transgenic contamination and not be subjected to chemical drift from the use of ever-increasingly higher levels of toxic herbicides.

But it doesn’t stop there. The riders also open up a proposed second backdoor approval opportunity for GE crops that have gone through an initial public comment period and are currently under review by the USDA. Under this condition, if USDA is unable to approve or deny a crop application within 90 days of the Farm Bill passage, then the crop would be deemed approved. That’s right. If USDA can’t get through the process on schedule — a schedule created to make sure they won’t — then all the safeguards come down and a new GE crop enters the public sphere without a regulatory roadblock in its way.

And if that doesn’t sound serious enough for you, consider the fact that one of the crops that this could apply to is Dow’s 2,4-D corn. Some know it better as “Agent Orange” corn, a GE crop engineered to withstand exposure to one of the chemicals in the infamous Vietnam-era herbicide. There’s no doubt about it, the deadlines would be impossible to meet given the volume of public and scientific comments the Department receives (the agency received over 350,000 on the proposed Dow corn approval alone) and the number of applications currently being considered.

Conventional (non-biotech) and organic farmers, as well as grain handlers, grain millers and processors have already suffered substantial economic losses in the past due to transgenic contamination from GE crops. If these proposed provisions become law, the Secretary of Agriculture may be unable to prevent costly contamination episodes, like Starlink corn or Liberty Link rice, which result in market rejection, loss of foreign and domestic markets and untold millions of dollars in lost revenue to farmers and the food industry.

But the chemical interests thought of that, too. They’ve inserted a rider that would compel USDA to establish an extremely controversial national policy for the “low-level presence” of GE material in crops, setting for the first time an acceptable level of GE contamination in non-GE crops in the U.S. The disassociation of the chemical industry’s priorities from reality is almost inexplicable. Consumer demand for GE-free foods is higher than ever, both in the U.S. and abroad. Any policy that intentionally allows for GE material in crops and does nothing to prevent contamination of conventional and organic crops poses serious and irreversible economic harm to thousands of farmers, handlers, food processors and manufacturers. And beyond that, this illogical and unreasonable policy would severely impact the capability to export U.S. agricultural products to vital foreign markets that have restrictions on GE material in food.

American agriculture is at a crossroads. The mere fact that these riders are actually under discussion in today’s House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill mark-up session is a testament to the changed reality we are facing. Far from moving closer to a safer, healthier and better regulated food supply, we’re all witness to an attempted shift away from those principles — delivering our regulatory and decision-making powers over U.S. agriculture into the hands of industry. It’s a scary scenario.

So, will Congress let the chemical industry write its own rules? For the sake of all American farmers, consumers and the environment, let’s hope the House Agriculture Committee and other members of Congress will see the true intent of these riders and strike them from the Farm Bill before more damage is done.

 

Please take a moment to send a letter to your Representative, urging him/her to oppose the riders in the FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill – just click here.

Record-Breaking One Million Americans Tell FDA: We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food

New National Survey Shows Majority of Americans United

on Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Media contact:
Sue McGovern
sue@mcgov.com
Direct: 781-648-7157
Cell: 781-315-3400
 

Washington, D.C. (March 27, 2012) – The Just Label It (JLI) Campaign announced today that a record-breaking one million Americans of all political persuasions have called on the FDA to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. The campaign also announced a new national survey revealing that Americans across the political spectrum stand united in support of labeling food that has been genetically engineered. This is a striking contrast to the partisan divisions plaguing our political system.

“Pink slime, deadly melons, tainted turkeys, and BPA in our soup have put us all on notice that what we eat and feed our families is critically important,” said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group, a JLI partner. “Americans overwhelmingly demand safety, transparency and labeling of genetically engineered foods. It’s time for the FDA to come clean and restore public confidence in our food system.”

Since October, JLI, (www.justlabelit.org), the national campaign to require GE-food labeling and its more than 500 partner organizations have spearheaded an historic number of public comments for a GE-foods labeling petition (Docket #FDA 2011-P-0723-001/CP). March 27 is the date when the FDA is required to respond to the petition.  It took less than 180 days to accumulate the record number of comments.

“In recent years, Americans have shown a real interest in knowing more about our food and now there is a clear mandate for the labeling of genetically engineered foods. This petition asks the FDA to stand up for the rights of average Americans, and not just a handful of powerful chemical companies. It’s time for the FDA to give Americans the same rights held by citizens in forty nations, including all of our major trade partners, to know whether our foods have been genetically modified.  The FDA needs to restore confidence in our food and our right to know about the food we eat and feed our families,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield, a JLI partner.

 

New Survey Results: Motherhood, Apple Pie and GE Food Labeling

Consumer support for GE-foods labeling in the U.S. is nearly unanimous, according to the political opinion survey on GE food labeling conducted by The Mellman Group on behalf of JLI. Explained pollster Mark Mellman, “Few topics other than motherhood and apple pie can muster over 90 percent support, but labeling GE-foods is one of those few views held almost unanimously.”  “The survey found nearly all Democrats (93% favor, 2% oppose), Independents (90% favor, 5% oppose) and Republicans (89% favor, 5% oppose) in favor of labeling. The study also revealed that support for labeling is robust and arguments against it have little sway. (For the survey findings, visit www.justlabelit.org)

Colorado mother and author Robyn O’Brien, who founded the AllergyKids Foundation, a JLI partner, after one of her children had an allergic reaction to breakfast, said:  “Americans are responding to the call for GE foods labeling because they want more information for their families. Like allergen labeling, GE-food labels would provide essential and possibly life-saving information for anyone with a food allergy. Being responsible for the health and safety of my children, I believe it’s my right to know about the food I feed my family…from allergens, to ‘pink slime’ to GE foods.”

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About Just Label It

JUST LABEL IT (JLI) is a national coalition of 500 diverse organizations dedicated to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as genetically modified, or GMOs.  The Just Label It message is simple: consumers have a right to know about our food so we can make informed choices about what we eat and feed our families. For updated information, visit the Just Label It website, (www.justlabelit.org)

What is a GMO?

“Genetically engineered foods,” “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have been created through application of transgenic, gene-splicing techniques that are part of biotechnology. This relatively new science allows DNA (genetic material) from one species to be transferred into another species, creating transgenic organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even viral gene pools. The mixing of genes from different species that have never shared genes in the past is what makes GMOs and GE crops so unique. It is impossible to create such transgenic organisms through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Citizens for Health Joins “Just Label It” Campaign

Washington, D.C.Citizens for Health is excited to announce we have joined an effort with hundreds of organizations representing millions of Americans called the “Just Label It: We Have A Right to Know” campaign. The core of the campaign is a petition to the FDA that calls for products that use ingredients produced with genetic engineering to disclose this information on the label.

If you agree, as we do, that you have a right to know if the food you are eating has been genetically engineered, join us in this effort. We must make sure the FDA hears loud and clear that Americans want access to truthful, non-misleading information about what we put into our bodies – we want GE foods labeled.

Sign the petition now!

Please share this opportunity for action with any people you know who share your interest in knowing what is in your food.

And take a moment to watch this important video: Just Label It: We Have a Right to Know

Millions of American Consumers are Food Identity Theft Victims

 Food Packaging Deceptions Threaten National Food Integrity

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Primary Media Contact:
Kevin Sanchez                                                          
Hollenbeck Associates                                              
(415) 227-1150 ext. 10                                                   
kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Even as more American families are trying to make healthier diet choices, many duplicitous food makers are contributing to the spread of Food Identity Theft.  Despite government safeguards and restrictions, dozens of food producers are misleading consumers with deceptive packaging or attempting to conceal questionable ingredients on labels.

While some of the deceptions are subtle, others are much more serious. Some make claims that are simply untrue, while others are in direct violation of Food & Drug Administration policies. Food Identity Theft issues include:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup trying to change its name to “corn sugar” in order to conceal itself from consumers;
  • “Blueberry” muffin mixes, breakfast cereals and pastry products that have absolutely no blueberries in them;
  • Spaghetti sauces “Made from California Vine-ripened Tomatoes” that are made using industrial tomato concentrate (tomato paste and water).

“These companies are knowingly trying to pull a con on American families,” said Jim Turner, who chairs the non-profit consumer protection group, Citizens for Health. “We have the right to know what’s in the products we’re buying, and that means clear, accurate, and truthful package labeling.”

Citizens for Health has launched a new website, www.FoodIdentityTheft.com, to alert consumers about these deceptive practices. With important information, links to the latest news stories, videos, and regulatory updates, site visitors will be aware of the most flagrant Food Identity Theft culprits.

Numerous consumer action groups, including the National Consumer League, the Consumer Federation of America, and the Center for Food Safety, have all publicly denounced Food Identity Theft deceptions.  Many businesses, including Whole Foods Markets, Jason’s Deli and Stonyfield Farm, actively support truth in food labeling practices.

“Americans who want to eat healthier need to know that companies like Betty Crocker, Smucker’s, Kellogg’s, Contadina and General Mills, and trade groups like the Corn Refiners Association, are attempting to mislead them on food package labels,” said Linda Bonvie, Senior Editor at FoodIdentityTheft.com.

About Citizens for Health

Funded by concerned consumers, non-profit partners, food growers, and businesses, Citizens for Health is a non-profit organization that provides over 100,000 supporters with consumer news, action alerts, and ways to demand access to healthy food, non-toxic products, and truthful, non-misleading health information.  More information is available at www.citizens.org.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a representative from Citizens for Health, please contact Kevin Sanchez of Hollenbeck Associates at 415-227-1150 ext 110 or kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com.

 

March for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food 10/1/11 – 10/16/11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@right2knowmarch.org

Right2Know March Announces Events During 313 Mile Walk to the White House for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Coalition Demands a “Reset” by
Obama Administration on GMO Labeling

 

NEW YORK, NY – In two days a diverse coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals will begin to march from the Historic Flatbush Food Co-op in Brooklyn, NY to the gates of the White House to ask the Obama Administration to support labeling of genetically engineered foods, also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs”. The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, DC October 1-16 as hundreds of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles to the White House. The route and details on daily events can be viewed at Right2KnowMarch.org.

“Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union. “Genetically engineered foods contain untested novel foreign compounds that can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join the Oct 1 NYC Right2Know March kick-off rally at Prospect Park at 11am to 1pm followed by marchers walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to the United Nations.

In addition to daily marching, the following are major events planned by the Right2Know March:
RALLY – 1-Oct R2K Kick Off Event,11am – 1pm Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
RALLY – 3 Oct, 10:45-11:45am Autumn Harvest Health Food 1625 East 2nd St, Scotch – Plains, NJ
MEET-UP – 3 Oct 4pm – 5pm George Street Coop Natural Foods 89 Morris St, New Brunswick, NJ
RALLY – 4 Oct, 2:15 -3:15pm Whole Earth Center 360 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ
MEET-UP – 5 Oct, 12:45 – 1:45pm Big Bear Natural Foods 322 West Trenton Ave #1, Morrisville, PA
NON-GMO FOAM RALLY – 6 Oct, 3:35 – 4:05pm Weavers Way Coop 559 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA
MEET-UP – 6 Oct, 7:05 – 8:05pm Mariposa Food Coop 4726 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA
RALLY – 7 Oct, 12 noon – midnight – The Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, 3819 Hamilton St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
MEET-UP – 8 Oct, 11:45 – 12:45pm Martindale Natural Market 1172 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, PA
MEET-UP – 9 Oct, 10-2pm Newark Farmers Market, Market East Plaza, 280 E. Main Street, Newark, DE
RALLY – 13-Oct, 11am – 6pm – Maryland Institute College of Art, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD
WORLD FOOD DAY RALLY – 16 Oct Concluding Rally 12:30pm to 5pm at the White House in Lafayette Park 1600 H Street, NW Washington, DC Marchers estimated to arrive at 1pm. Event to feature Mom’s Panel and conclusion of the march

“The Right2Know March is an unprecedented effort to win genuine transparency on Genetically Engineered foods,” says Katherine DiMatteo of IFOAM and a lead coordinator of the Right2Know March. “Most Americans agree they have a right to know what is in the food they put in their own and their children’s bodies, but current federal policy favors the pesticide industry and hides the facts,” says DiMatteo. “It’s time to reset US policy on GMOs.”

Helping lead the march is Joseph Wilhelm, President of Rapunzel and Indian activist, Dr. Vanadana Shiva, both veteran GMO campaigners who twice marched across Europe for controls on GMOs and in support of GMO labeling, which is required in the EU. They will be joined at the events in NYC and Washington, DC as well as along the march, by advocates, media personalities, farmers and business leaders who will speak out for GMO labeling, including: Andrew Kimbrell (Founder, Center for Food Safety, Frances Moore Lapp? (Author, Diet for a Small Planet), Michael Hansen (Senior Scientist, Consumers Union), George Siemon (CEO, Organic Valley) and many others.

“No matter what you believe about GMOs, the bottom line is that we have a right to know what is in our food so we can all make better decisions for the health of our families,” says TV host and green lifestyle author Sara Snow.

Mothers are also marching and will speak out at the World Food Day Rally at the White House on October 16. “Without labeling, consumers have no way of knowing if the foods they are feeding their families have been genetically engineered to contain new proteins,” says Robyn O’Brien, author and founder of the Allergy Kids Foundation. “Because there is no definitive test that can be relied upon to predict whether a newly expressed protein might trigger an allergic reaction, it is important that genetically engineered foods are labeled so that the food allergic population can exercise caution and make an informed choice about what they eat. GMO labeling would provide essential and possibly life-saving information.”

Right2Know March spokespeople are available to debate GMO manufacturers on the labeling issue. “After 30 years and billions of dollars in research, only two principal GMO traits have been successfully developed: herbicide tolerance and insecticide production. Despite industry promises, there are no GMO traits currently on the market for increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other humanitarian or environmental benefit,” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project, fiscal sponsor of the Right2Know March. “Americans should have the right to opt out of this experiment, and this march is about standing up and demanding that freedom.”

Founding organizations of the Right2Know march include the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), the Non-GMO Project and the Sustainable Living Roadshow, who are joined by founding organic brands Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Rapunzel. In recent months, numerous titans of the organic and natural food sector have become sponsors of the Right2Know March including: Nature’s Path; Organic Valley; Stonyfield; United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI); Nutiva; Kamut International; and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.

Members of the media are encouraged to follow the entire organizing effort and report on our progress. Please sign up for email alerts through our website or call Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 to arrange interviews or for in person requests. Members of the public should call the Right2Know March Hotline: 202.557.5164 or email erica@right2knowmarch.org .

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Additional sponsors and affiliates include: Weleda; Biodynamic Farming and Garden Association; Center for Food Safety; Food Democracy Now; Organic Trade Association; The Organic Center; Independent Natural Food Retailers Association; National Cooperative Grocers Association; Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; Northeast Organic Farming Association’s of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut; National Organic Coalition; Organic Farming research Foundation; Food and Water Watch; Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture; Organic Consumers Association; Sustainable Food Trust; Truth in Labeling Coalition; Organic Seed Growers Association; Institute for Responsible Technology; and Cuatro Puertas.

Take Action! Senate Bill Addresses Antibiotics in Animal Feed

Urge Congress to Preserve Antibiotics for Medical Treatment

by Helena Bottemiller, Food Safety News (action links added)

A bipartisan group of senators re-introduced a bill late last week aimed at preserving the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics by limiting their use in food animal feed. In the face of the rising threat of antibiotic resistance, public health experts and activists have pushed for regulation to limit the subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

Recent estimates indicate around 80 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are given to food animals.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the primary sponsor of The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, otherwise known as PAMTA, reintroduced the measure to address “the rampant overuse of antibiotics in agriculture that creates drug-resistant bacteria, an increasing threat to human beings.”

Click Here to Contact Congress NOW!

“The effectiveness of antibiotics for humans is jeopardized when they are used to fatten healthy pigs or speed the growth of chickens,” said Senator Feinstein.  “This is a basic food safety initiative that would phase out the misuse of these drugs so that food in supermarkets across America will not spread strains of drug-resistant bacteria.”

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), all collaborated on the legislation.

According to Feinstein’s office, in 2010, the senator was contacted by the Don family of Ramona, California.  Their son, Carlos, “a bright and athletic 12-year old,” became gravely ill with an infection while at summer camp and did not respond to antibiotics.

“It took doctors 48 hours to find a medication that could kill the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, that had infected his body.  By that time, Carlos’ lungs, kidneys, liver, intestine and heart had failed.  With only some brain activity left, Carlos lost his life because the antibiotics that hospitals have relied on for 80 years no longer worked,” said Feinstein’s office in a statement late last week.

“No parent should ever undergo the heartbreak and the tragedy that the Don’s went through,” said Feinstein.  “My bill makes important changes to the use of antibiotics and ensures that operations on a farm do not negatively impact the health and well being of families across the nation.”

The bill Feinstein is championing, PAMTA, mirrors a bill introduced by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the only microbiologist serving in Congress. The legislation:

— Phases out the non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in livestock;
— Requires new applications for animal antibiotics to demonstrate the use of the antibiotic will not endanger public health;
— Does not restrict the use of antibiotics to treat sick livestock or to treat pets.

“PAMTA will limit the agricultural use of seven types of antibiotics that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as critically important in human medicine to ensure that antibiotic-resistance is not inadvertently accelerated,” according to Feinstein’s office.

The Senate version of the legislation has 17 cosponsors and the House version has 60. Slaughter has been introducing a version of the bill since 2007.

The animal agriculture industry maintains that antibiotics are a critical tool for preventing disease and promoting animal health and welfare, casting doubt on the link between the sector’s use of antibiotics and human health issues.

Click here to send your message to Congress NOW!