June 29, 2003 |
This month, McDonald's announced a public health breakthrough: Its meat and chicken suppliers must, by the end of 2004, stop using antibiotics to make animals grow faster. The fast-food giant's new policy doesn't go nearly far enough. But its market-driven half-measures are more visionary and practical than the timid regulations we've seen coming from the Food and Drug Administration.
August 5, 1997 |
Researchers have found a way to turn off the genes that make bacteria resistant to antibiotic drugs, a discovery that could help head off a major medical crisis in the treatment of infections. Bacteria have been growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Many infections no longer respond well to drugs that once worked against them.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 11, 1998
There is a certain satisfaction in puncturing the arrogance of experts like W.H. Stewart, the American surgeon-general who declared in 1969 that we "can close the book on infectious diseases." But restoring some respect for the bugs that bite man is more than trendy revisionism. It's key to solving the problem of drug-resistant bacteria.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 2002 |
A rise in a drug-resistant form of gonorrhea in California is forcing health officials to turn away from a widely used, inexpensive antibiotic treatment, further narrowing their options to fight the sexually transmitted disease. Officials say they are finding an increased number of gonorrhea infections that are resistant to the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics, which includes Cipro.
December 14, 2010 |
The U.S.-raised animals we eat consumed about 29 million pounds of antibiotics in the last year alone, according to a first-ever Food and Drug Administration accounting of antimicrobial drug use by the American livestock industry. The release of the figures -- in a little-noticed posting on the FDA's website Friday -- came in response to a 2008 law requiring the federal government to collect and disseminate antibiotic use in livestock as part of the Animal Drug User Fee Act . The Union of Concerned Scientists, which authored a 2001 report that was highly critical of the routine practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock, estimated the yearly animal consumption of antibiotics to be eight times as large as the volume of antibiotics produced for human consumption in the U.S. Mardi Mellon, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Food and Environment program, said the new report corroborates the 2001 findings of the group's report, titled "Hogging It.
February 24, 2014 |
The opening of the first Trader Joe's store in Boise, Idaho, has become the latest front in a campaign to get the Monrovia company to stop selling meat from animals raised with antibiotics. Consumers Union, which publishes Consumers Report magazine, took out a full page advertisement in the Idaho Statesman on Monday to warn about growing antibiotic resistance from industrial farming and urge consumers to demand Trader Joe's sell only antibiotic-free meat. “The antibiotics we depend on to treat infectious diseases are losing their power,” said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union. “We need to stop wasting these critical medications on healthy livestock. Trader Joe's can take an important stand for public health by no longer selling meat from animals that have been routinely fed antibiotics.” [Updated 11:33 a.m.]
April 16, 2011 |
The new study about drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus found in meat and poultry samples certainly sounds alarming -- such bacteria can cause serious infections in humans and can even lead to death. But consumers face a relatively small direct threat from the bacteria in food, and a few simple precautions should provide short-term peace of mind. Long-term peace of mind may take longer. It does seem possible that the meat industry is contributing to antibiotic resistance in some way. The FDA was concerned enough last year to urge that the meat industry use antibiotics only when necessary.
April 11, 2012 |
No place on Earth demonstrates the resilience or inventiveness of life quite like Lechuguilla Cave, whose subterranean tunnels stretch for 130 miles through Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Deep in the cave's most arid recesses, deprived of all sunlight and mostly starved of life-giving water, a lush garden of bacteria grows. Untouched by humans for all of their 4 million years, these strains of bacteria thrive on the harsh minerals of the geological formations to which they cling and fend off other life forms that would prey on them.
October 17, 2001 |
Anthrax anxiety has spawned a massive public health experiment--one that is unplanned, uncontrolled and perhaps unstoppable. Never before have so many healthy people been given private stashes of antibiotics to use at their whim. The trouble, say medical experts, is that indiscriminate prescription of Cipro and other powerful antibiotics could prove horribly counterproductive.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 5, 1997 |
A report last month that a Michigan man was infected by staphylococcus bacteria resistant to the most powerful antibiotic approved for use, vancomycin, triggered only fleeting news coverage. That case and a similar one in New Jersey reported Thursday should send shudders though the medical community and the public. If those bacteria spread--as have many other pathogens resistant to antibiotics--the most deadly type of hospital-acquired infection will become untreatable.