Poultry farms say no to drugs

by 5m Editor
24 November 2005, at 12:00am

CALIFORNIA - Something will be missing from many Bay Area dinner tables this Thanksgiving: antibiotics. An increasing number of major poultry producers and restaurant companies are backing away from once-routine use of the drugs to ward off illness or fatten up flocks. The shift is a result of growing concern within the health and environmental communities that the frequent use of antibiotics in animals makes the drugs less effective in people. ``When we became aware of the antibiotic resistance issue, it seemed like a natural thing for us to take a stand on,'' said Maisie Ganzler of Bon Appetit, a Palo Alto-based food-service provider, which announced this week it is selling only antibiotic-free birds. The company serves 700,000 pounds of Foster Farms turkey a year in its 190 cafes in 26 states, including the dining rooms at Yahoo, Oracle, Cisco and Santa Clara University. Changing a practice that is decades old, bird breeders are relying on vaccines, cleaner cages and isolation techniques to keep their birds healthy. One company is selectively breeding birds with extra-strong immune systems, able to fend off infectious microbes. Last summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of one agricultural antibiotic, a fluoroquinolone called Baytril, nearly identical to the human antibiotic Cipro. The FDA showed that the use of Baytril in poultry reduces the effectiveness of Cipro in treating a common cause of human food poisoning. Source: The Mercury News

5m Editor