Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lawsuit seeks antibiotic sales data

The Government Accountability Project is suing the United States Food and Drug Administration to get records on antibiotic sales for farm use.

The FDA has released only aggregate data. The lawsuit seeks information such as how much of each drug is sold, whether it was formulated for use in feed, water or injection and the animals for which the drug was intended.

The lawsuit was filed after the FDA denied an application filed under the U.S. Freedom on Information system.

By comparison, Canadian officials don’t release any of this information if they in fact gather it.

In 1985, Orville Schell wrote a book entitled Modern Meat in which he demonstrated the failure of enforcement via checks for residues in meat.

The issue then was the continued use of growth-promoting diethylstilbestrol in beef cattle after it was banned as a threat to human health.

The government found no evidence in its testing for residues in meat, yet the industry continued to use DES as if it had never been banned.

When a whistleblower informed on one of the largest feedlots, an investigation began that eventually revealed many more large-scale feedlots were continuing to use DES.

The full extent of cheating became evident when investigators obtained sales records and tracked down the buyers.

That is probably why the Government Accountability Project wants to see the sales records now.

They might reveal a pattern of use and abuse quite different from the results of sampling and testing for residues at meat-packing plants.

It's never been clear to me why enforcement officials don't demand sales records and simply track down the buyers to check for potential abuses.

Maybe they don't really want to enforce the standards. I can't think of any other good explanation. Can you?

As for why Canadian government officials are so secretive, need I explain?