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FDA responsible for rapid rise of deadly pathogens in U.S. food supply


FDA
(NaturalNews) Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are a major detriment to society, with the latest predictions estimating that by 2050 they will kill more people than the number who currently die from cancer. But the problem is not necessarily the drug companies that produce them or the corporate mega-farms that buy them, but rather the government regulatory structure that has been actively perpetuating their use for at least the past half-decade.

Often missing from the conversation as to who is responsible for this escalating problem is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the nation's top dog when it comes to legal drug use. Not only has the FDA long set the standard for the use of antibiotic drugs in livestock, which is believed to be the prevailing cause of drug-resistant superbugs, but the agency has also put at an economic disadvantage farms and drug manufacturers that are trying to utilize other less-destructive means of keeping livestock healthy and food safe.

The FDA has known since the 1970s that the advent of superbugs, which possess a mutated resistance to antibiotics, might eventually threaten public health on a large scale. But the agency has repeatedly failed to address the problem, instead demanding more power over food production. The result, as explained by Alice Salles of PanAm Post, has been an increase in generic regulations that have only further promulgated the spread of superbugs.

"Whatever the stated goals may have been, Washington, DC's one-size-fits-all approach eventually caused a boom in the use of antibiotic-ridden feeds, thus increasing the occurrence of superbugs," she wrote.

Under FDA rule, US food supply has become progressively more contaminated with deadly pathogens

While it might seem logical to blame the pharmaceutical industry for manufacturing the antibiotics that have given deadly pathogens apparent superpowers, it is the FDA that is responsible for at least 80 percent of them ending up in conventional animal feed. FDA guidelines-turned-rules have also made it difficult, if not impossible, for smaller drug innovators to come up with novel solutions to the problem. As a result, only the biggest pharma players have a horse in the race, further stifling innovation and improved food safety.

"On the drug and antibiotics production side, guidelines eventually turned into official rules, and with them an environment unkind to innovation and variety," added Salles. "Unattainable quality requirements now suffocate innovative drug makers, and privilege a handful of companies whose antibiotics have been used in farm animal feeds for more than a decade."

It would be irresponsible to leave out the lobbying element, a.k.a. the corporate interests that have taken over many of the most influential positions at the FDA, or at least purchased them politically. This undue influence has led to numerous policy changes over the years that favor large agricultural giants at the expense of small-scale farmers who produce clean, safe food without the need for excessive antibiotics.

Rather than grant the FDA further control over the food supply, as some are now contending is necessary to preserve food safety, it is perhaps time to strip away the many caked-on layers of misguided legal fiction that constrain both innovation and decentralized agriculture. Both of these are necessary for a viable food production network that, given the proper free market liberties, will thrive and innovate without putting public health at risk.

"If the goal is safer meat for consumers, the proper approach is for lawmakers -- at the behest of informed constituents -- to restrict the FDA's authority," concluded Salles.

We would agree.

Sources for this article include:

http://panampost.com

http://www.anh-usa.org

http://switchboard.nrdc.org

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