FACT’s Food Safety Program advocates for strong corporate and federal policies to end both the use of veterinary drugs known to be harmful to consumers and the overuse of antibiotics on farms.
We have made significant progress in helping to persuade major fast food chains to commit to serving meat produced without using medically important antibiotics, and we are holding several corporations accountable to the public promises they made to reduce antibiotic usage in set timeframes. FACT is also working to convince the FDA to stand by its decision to eliminate the known carcinogen carbadox from the pork supply.
FACT leads charge on federal efforts to reduce antibiotic overuse
To stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, FACT leads and staffs the Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW) coalition of allied organizations that is the major voice calling for changes in how antibiotics are used on farms.
Along with eliminating the overuse of antibiotics, KAW’s major goal has been to improve data collection by federal agencies on both antibiotic-resistant superbugs and on antibiotic use on farm.
The BiG Picture: FACT’s Global Antibiotics Work
Because the overuse of antibiotics is a global problem, FACT also works to support strong international standards on antibiotic use. Similar to our federal policy work, FACT’s international antibiotics policy work is primarily through coalitions in this case through the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition and Consumers International. In August 2018, FACT coordinated a letter signed by seventeen organizations asking the U.S. government to support strong international standards related to antibiotic use in farm animals.
Fast food antibiotics campaigns getting results
During the last two years, responding to campaigns by FACT and allied organizations, McDonald’s, Subway, and KFC have all either shifted, or committed to shifting, to serving only chicken raised without the use of medically important antibiotics.
These changes—made by the above restaurants and others—were reflected in the fourth annual Chain Reaction report, which showed that 18 of the top 25 restaurant chains had made commitments to reduce antibiotic use in their meet supply.
Chain Reaction is an annual report created by FACT and allied organizations to rank the top restaurant chains on their antibiotic policies. We will continue these efforts until all major fast food companies adopt policies on antibiotic use.
Eliminating cancer causing carbadox residues from food
In April 2016, the FDA announced that it wanted to ban the drug carbadox because feeding it to pigs in the food supply led to cancer-causing residues in pork products. The drug maker Phibro has challenged the ban through formal proceedings—a process which may take between five to 20 years.
In the meantime, the drug can still be fed to pigs. FACT has written in support of the FDA and has asked pig companies not to use the drug. So far, the companies have not acted.
In March, FACT reached out to the top 10 restaurant chains to ask them to protect their customers by requiring their pork suppliers to stop using the drug. FACT will continue to pressure companies that sell pork to stop using the drug.
Deregulation of Salmonella opens animals and humans alike to risk
Salmonella, a type of bacteria, is one of the most common causes of foodbourne illness. People often get Salmonella infections from meat or eggs, whereas farm animals can get infected from their feed—leading to the subsequent contamination of meat and eggs.
The FDA previously considered any Salmonella in animal feed a problem, but recently decided that only certain strains are a concern.
In July 2018, FACT formally requested that FDA expand the number of Salmonella strains to be restricted in animal feed.