FACT believes that healthy animals are needed to keep food safe. Unhealthy conditions on factory farms including poor diets and the misuse of veterinary drugs lead to pathogens, antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and dangerous residues in meat, milk, and eggs that cause TEns of thousands of people to fall ill each year.
FACT's Food Safety Program identifies and advocates for steps farmers can take to keep their cattle, pigs, turkeys and chickens from being the cause of illness in humans. This includes steps to ensure that the animals themselves are protected from disease, and controlling what drugs and feed they are given. FACT is the only consumer advocacy organization that focuses on the farm end of the farm-to-table food safety continuum.
Our main food safety priorities are addressing the below issues in our nation’s food supply:
Fighting Antibiotic Resistance: Ensure that antibiotics stay effective for treating sick humans and animals by reducing the use of antibiotics in healthy animals and by reducing farm practices that lead to rampant antibiotic use. We advocate using antibiotics only to treat sick animals while collecting data on how antibiotics are used on farms so that irresponsible overuse can be controlled. Overuse of antibiotics is a major cause of the spread of difficult to treat superbugs that threaten to reverse much of the medical progress of the last century. Some of our antibiotic resistance efforts include:
Strengthening FDA Antibiotics Policy: FACT has pushed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict the overuse of antibiotics in food animals for over two decades. We use all means available including direct communication with the FDA, other federal agencies, the White House, and Congress. Overuse of antibiotics is rampant, so FACT continues to push eliminating antibiotic usage in healthy animals to prevent disease, and demands that a system to collect data on how antibiotics are used on farm be created. The FDA has committed to do more in both these areas, though FACT's continued engagement is necessary to ensure successful completion of these changes.
Restaurant Chain Antibiotic Policies: We have actively campaigned and engaged companies to get them to stop buying meat from suppliers that allow antibiotics to be given to animals that are not sick. FACT participated in antibiotics campaigns targeting Subway and In-N-Out Burger that helped lead both companies to commit to buy from suppliers that do not give antibiotics to healthy animals. We are currently participating in a campaign targeting KFC. Please also see Chain Reaction report on the antibiotic usage in the U.S. chain restaurant industry.
International Engagement on Antibiotics: The spread of superbugs is a global problem. FACT engages in international forums to advocate for reduced use of antibiotics on farm. FACT continues to work in the international sphere through Steven Roach participating in the World Health Organization Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (AGISAR) and through participating in a newly created Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance in the international standard setting organization Codex Alimentarius.
Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition: As part of our Food Safety program, FACT leads and manages the Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW) Coalition, a working group of health, consumer, agricultural, environmental, humane, and other advocacy groups dedicated to eliminating a major cause of antibiotic resistance: the inappropriate use of antibiotics in food animals.
Limiting Foodborne Pathogens: Reduce foodborne illness by promoting corporate and federal policies that require farms to take steps (e.g. vaccinate, improve hygiene) that reduce the incidence of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, and parasites) on farms and in food-producing animals. We supported the creation of a 2010 rule requiring egg farms to take steps to control the foodborne pathogen Salmonella enteritidis on their farm and are currently engaging around the safety of animal feed.
Eradicating Chemical Contaminants: Improve the safety of meat, milk, and eggs by reducing on the use of veterinary drugs that put animal and human health at risk. Recent successes include the elimination of arsenic in the food supply, as well as advocating the FDA to continue on its course to withdraw carbadox—a known carcinogen—from the food supply.
Interested in food safety issues?
As a consumer, you have a right to know what is in your food. Please contact us if you have questions about FACT's Food Safety Program, the Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition, or about the pressing issues we address daily.