May 10, 2013

Phasing out the procurement of meat and poultry raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics is in the works at UCSF.  The Academic Senate Coordinating Committee, the School of Pharmacy Faculty Council, and the School of Medicine Faculty Council all unanimously approved the resolution, which also encourages all UC  campuses to do the same. SF Bay Area PSR Steering Committee member Dr. Thomas Newman said, “There is overwhelming scientific consensus that overuse of antibiotics in livestock is a health hazard to people. It’s time for hospitals, universities, and other consumers to stop buying meat raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics.” Dr. Newman is Chair of the Sustainability Task Force at UCSF that originally spearheaded the resolution, and a member of the faculty at the School of Medicine at UCSF.

Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in animal agriculture, primarily for non-therapeutic purposes. These antibiotics are being used for growth promotion and to compensate for unsanitary living conditions. There is strong consensus among independent experts that overuse of these medically important drugs in animal agriculture contributes to growing antibiotic resistance. The European Union banned the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in livestock production in 2006, and over 300 organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH),  have advocated ending the practice here in the U.S.  Gary Cohen, HCWH President, said, “We believe that healthcare is best positioned to lead our society away from its addiction to antibiotics in animal agriculture. Hospitals have both the mission-critical rationale and the economic clout to transform the animal supply chain to become more environmentally sustainable and healthier for everyone.” HCWH currently works with over 93 hospitals across the country that are reducing the amount of meat they serve in their facilities, and/or are procuring more sustainable meat. SF Bay Area PSR coordinates HCWH’s Healthy Food in Health Care program in California.

Read the resolution here.