My last post discussed how the FDA would finally be addressing the use of antibiotics. I stumbled upon the outcome of the decision on Food Politics. After reading what Marion Nestle had to say, I decided to see how Mark Bittman was handling the news. To read more on the topic I followed a link to the New York Times. Here is what I found: The F.D.A. has decided that industries should not be able to give antibiotics to animals to make them grow faster. The F.D.A. does support the use when it is needed by a sick animal. This would require a prescription by a veterinarian. The F.D.A. is allowing this to be voluntary, probably to avoid too much trouble from the industries. The F.D.A. is claiming that they will produce regulations if the rule isn’t followed.
Before I start ranting, I would like to say that I am happy to hear the F.D.A. say that the use is not in the best interest for humans and antibiotics should not be used for the growth of animals. While it is probably just a quick fix to shut up people protesting the use, it makes me feel like I can count on the FDA to be on my side even when big industries are not.
Problem one: Who is jugding “sick” animals? I’m sure that big companies can find veterinarians to pay off. Suddenly a lot of animals are going to be “sick”.
Problem two: Voluntary. I do think that the shame and accountability will cause some companies to reduce or eliminate the use of the antibiotics. The FDA said it’s bad so now they can’t hide behind the says who argument, but some companies won’t care. This isn’t a law. No one will go to jail and no one will be fined.
In my opinion the FDA did what it could to make both sides happy. A full ban would have opened up a can of legal worms. The FDA would have to have air tight regulations. This can’t happen over night, but they can’t ignore the harm from antibiotics. It’s a start.. It’s going to cost a company a lot of money to pay off vets, hide what they are doing, and lose sales. It will happen, but as long as consumers stick to wanting and only buying antibiotic free meats I think there is hope. I’ll try to be optimistic.