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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 3, 2019 04:01 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Safe Foods, Safe Families
Soon I will reintroduce legislation that would promote the safety and effectiveness of vital antibiotic medicines. These drugs are critical to the effective treatment of bacterial infections. Unfortunately, physicians report that bacterial infections are becoming increasingly resistant to treatment with antibiotics. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared antibiotic resistance to be one of its top concerns. Antibiotic resistance especially threatens young children, seniors and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer, transplant and AIDS patients.

One major factor behind the increased resistance is the routine feeding of low levels of antibiotics to livestock and poultry, often at industrial agricultural facilities. These animals are fed antibiotics to enhance their growth and compensate for crowded conditions. Many of these same antibiotics are used to treat human disease. An estimated 60 to 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are given to healthy animals.

My bill would take important steps to limit the use of antibiotics in healthy farm animals if those same drugs are also used to treat infectious diseases in humans. The act specifically bans the use of penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, bacitracin and other antibiotics in healthy farm animals and gives the Secretary of Health the authority to prohibit the non-therapeutic use of other antibiotics. Sick animals could still receive treatment with antibiotics.

At the Federal level over 350 health, consumer, environmental, sustainable agriculture and other public interest organizations have called for an end to the routine use of medically important antibiotics as feed additives. These include the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the American College of preventive Medicine. The European Union has already banned this practice. More information may be found on the Keep Antibiotics Working web site at www.keepantibioticsworking.org.

This bill was known as Senate Bill 246 during the 2017-2018 session.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

If you have questions about this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Introduced as SB188