Report Distorts Data to Blame Farmers

The National Pork Producers Council says the Environmental Working Group is using selective and incomplete 2011 government data on retail meat samples in a report to blame America's livestock and poultry farmers for the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant illnesses in people. NPPC notes 2000 to 2012 data from the federal National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System show a very pathogenic bacteria on meat and stable to declining rates of those bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. NPPC also points out that numerous peer-reviewed risk assessments - including at least one from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration - have shown a negligible risk to human health of antibiotics use in livestock and poultry production. NPPC President Randy Spronk says pork producers use antibiotics in targeted ways - under a veterinarian's supervision - to protect public health, the health of their animals and to produce safe food. He says the data doesn't support what groups opposed to modern food-animal production claim. According to Spronk - they continue to distort information to fit their agenda to end modern agriculture.

The release of the EWG report comes ahead of congressional action on reauthorizing the Animal Drug User Fee Act - or ADUFA. Many groups who support legislation to ban the use of antibiotics that prevent or control diseases and of ones that improve nutritional efficiency in food animals are weighing in on ADUFA - urging Congress to limit the animal health products available to livestock producers.

NPPC wants an ADUFA reauthorization bill that's free of amendments. The law allows FDA to collect fees from animal health companies for the timely review and approval of products. Spronk - a Minnesota pork producer - says taking care of animals to produce safe food starts with Congress passing ADUFA and not letting it die because of controversial amendments.

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