President Creates Memorandum To Monitor Antibiotic-Use In Meat And Poultry

Washington, D.C. – After a push from Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and members of the industry, President Barack Obama has created a memorandum that will help to limit the use of antibiotics in meat and poultry, according to a press release.

“It is the policy of the Federal Government to encourage responsible uses of medically important antibiotics in the meat and poultry supply chain by supporting the emerging market for meat that has been produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies,” the press release states.

The first part of the memorandum refers to the changes that will be made to vendors, stating that, with 120 days, the “General Service Administration (GSA) shall initiate a process in which vendors, under new contract awards, offer in GSA cafeterias, as an option, meat and poultry from animals that have been raised according to responsible antibiotic-use policies, to the extent such an option is available and cost effective.” The next part refers to food agencies that need to develop, by 2020, a strategy to give contracts to vendors that follow the antibiotic-use policies. 

“This policy will build on the important work of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and antibiotic manufacturers, which are already taking substantial steps to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics in food animals,” according to the press release.

The Task Fork responsible for overseeing the implementation of the memorandum will also develop a recommended strategy for ensuring the new policies.

This memorandum comes less than a year after Rep. Slaughter sent a letter to President Obama, calling for these actions to be taken.

“We cannot wait any longer,” Slaughter said in the letter. “Strict limits must be implemented, which can only be enforced when current levels of use are known, and the Federal Government must act to demonstrate that only meat raised responsibly, with limited or no use of antibiotics, is acceptable in the food supply.”

Posted on 6/3/2015