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Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 27, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Food labeling shows the danger of antibiotics in livestock

Restrict the use of unnecessary drugs

Guest columnists David Ramenofsky and Paul Pottinger gave a good accounting of the dangers of antibiotics in livestock and the food chain [“Label meat and dairy from livestock treated with antibiotics,” Opinion, Nov. 25].

We should also be reminded that the deadly bacteria that grows from these animals spread well beyond the feedlot and slaughterhouse.

On top of the food poisoning incidents tied to wholesale and retail meats are the cross-contaminated vegetables and fruit. For instance, cantaloupes, spinach and bean sprouts have been contaminated from a water table infected from nearby livestock operations.

And the resistant bugs show no respect for our bureaucratic distinction between human and animal health. Cooties grown in Bessie the cow are just as deadly to Tessie the sixth-grader.

Food labeling might solve the problem that a dysfunctional Congress cannot: In the desire to mollify consumers, livestock growers might restrict their use of unnecessary drugs. This is not a new subject. We’ve been arguing about antibiotics in animal feed for 30 years.

— Art James, Port Townsend

Comments | More in Food/nutrition | Topics: food/nutrition

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