Ruth Reichl Skewers FDA on Its Failure to Ban Growth-Promoting Antibiotics for Livestock; Makes Us Want to March on Washington
Earlier this week, author and former Gourmet Magazine editor Ruth Reichl penned a scathing Op-Ed piece for the New York Times on the failure of the FDA to protect American’s food supply. More specifically, the article took issue with a recent Federal Appeals Court ruling that gives the FDA the power to permit the use of antibiotics in industrial livestock and poultry production even if the agency knows that the drug is unsafe and likely to increase the risk of antibiotic resistance in people.
In the Op-Ed, Reichl makes her points clearly and without unnecessary ornamentation. The truth is that industrial livestock and poultry producers rely on antibiotics primarily to accelerate the times that it takes to fatten up healthy animals. Super-dosing animals with antibiotics also allows producers to constantly “push the envelope” with the conditions at their facilities; because antibiotics help stave off diseases, producers can get away with allowing overcrowded, unsanitary and otherwise substandard living arrangements for the livestock and poultry that the process.
The whole thing should be a nightmare to foodies, and, frankly, to all Americans concerned about the state of the nation’s food supply. Worse than this, the ruling further buffers from regulation practices that increase the risks of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are a present and growing threat to animal and human populations alike.
We applaud Reichl for using her eminent position and celebrity within the food community to take on this fight. This is a case were food-lovers, critics, restaurateurs, family-farmers and quality brands must take a leadership role both in demanding change and activating conversations among the wider population.
Give the importance and timeliness of its subject matter, we think Reichl’s article stands out among this week’s required reading.
Ruth Reichl, The F.D.A.’s Blatant Failure on Food, NYTimes.com.
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