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Reducing antibiotics in livestock is a step in the right direction

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new rules regarding the use of antibiotics and antimicrobial drugs in livestock.

“The Food and Drug Administration said the antibiotics could still be used to treat illnesses in animals raised for meat, but should otherwise be pared back over the next three years under a voluntary program to keep them out of the human food supply. Although voluntary, the agency said it expects drugmakers to fully adhere to the new guidelines and on Wednesday announced that two of these biggest purveyors of those antibiotics had already agreed to narrow their use. (Ransdell Pierson and Charles Abbott for Reuters)”

There is debate as to the true motivation behind this decision; is it due to the fact that a large percentage (80% by some estimates) of antibiotics in production are now used on livestock, greatly diminishing those available for human consumption. Or is the FDA trying to control the spread of MRSA type viruses which are becoming more resistant to the pharmaceutical companies current antibiotics. Perhaps, it is driven more by economics as many countries are refusing to import American beef and poultry due to the overwhelming safety concerns of consuming meat and meat products tainted with antibiotics, growth hormones and GMO animal feed.

Regardless of the ultimate motivation, it is a step in the right direction. This ruling, however, does not go far enough.

For instance; why make this a voluntary program, why give the companies three years to fully comply, with what level of certainty can the American people trust that this ruling is sincere and that companies will comply?

"Our fear ... is that there will be no reduction in antibiotic use as companies will either ignore the plan altogether or simply switch from using antibiotics for routine growth promotion to using the same antibiotics for routine disease prevention," said Steven Roach, senior analyst with advocacy group Keep Antibiotics Working. (Ransdell Pierson and Charles Abbott for Reuters)”

Is this a sign that the US government will take further steps to ensure the safety of the food supply? Can we expect to see GMO labeling laws, tax and business incentives for Organic or Natural farmers as well as grocery stores that primarily sell these items? How about following in the footsteps of Mexico, Peru, Kingdom of Bhutan, UK and many EU countries and ban these harmful practices. Can we look forward to Dr.'s being fined for prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily or better yet, how about reward Dr.'s who refer their patients to healing methods that do not rely on killing life (anti-bio) to begin with.

The Yellow Emperor (Huang Di, Emperor and Taoist Sage/Scholar) stated that what we eat and drink and the nutrients we consume are our first line of defense against illness and disease, they are, however, also the very same doorway to those evil calamities as well.

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