18.7.2003: Meldung: Wild Oats and UCS Combat Antibiotic Overuse

The Union of Concerned Scientists and Wild Oats Markets, Inc. , today launched a partnership to educate consumers about the human health threat posed by the overuse of antibiotics in meat production. The partnership was announced during a public forum with leading local and national experts at Wild Oats"" Portland store. Participants also applauded Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) for agreeing to sponsor a bill curtailing the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

"People shop at Wild Oats because they care about how their food is produced and know that we do too, which is why we have partnered with the Union of Concerned Scientists to raise awareness about this important issue," said Dr. Mary Mulry, Senior Director of Product Development and Standards for Wild Oats Markets, Inc. "Our customers expect us to encourage food manufacturers to implement policies that are a part of natural food production. As a result, we support federal legislation that reduces the use of medically important antibiotics in meat production."

One of the cornerstones of Wild Oats"" product standards is to offer customers meat products that are all natural, which means the animals are never given antibiotics to promote growth or to prevent disease.

UCS estimates that 70 percent of antibiotics and related drugs produced in the United States are fed to food animals for nontherapeutic purposes, such as growth acceleration and to prevent diseases caused by overcrowded factory farm conditions. Public health experts believe that squandering these miracle drugs reduces their effectiveness for human use.

"We now confront an antibiotic-resistance crisis," said Dr. Syd Sewall, former president of the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, at the forum. "Eliminating non-essential use of antibiotics and reducing their presence in the general environment is a critical step needed to lessen the ecological pressure that drives antibiotic resistance."

"The needless overuse of antibiotics must be stopped in order to protect the public health of all Americans," said Jennifer Palembas, an organizer with the UCS Food and Environment Program. "We applaud Wild Oats and Senator Snowe for being leaders on this crucial issue."

"The overuse of medically important antibiotics in humans and animals creates resistant bacteria which can cause infections that are increasingly difficult to treat. Simply put, the practice of feeding antibiotics to healthy animals jeopardizes the effectiveness of these medicines in treating ill people and animals. The problem of bacterial resistance represents an impending public health crisis. It is my hope that the legislation I am sponsoring with Senator Kennedy will ensure that we have effective drugs available to treat illnesses for many years to come," Senator Snowe said.

UCS is an independent nonprofit alliance of 60,000 concerned citizens and scientists across the country. Wild Oats Markets, Inc., is a leading national natural and organic foods retailer. For more information on antibiotic resistance, see the UCS website at http://www.ucsusa.org/ .

Wild Oats Markets, Inc.
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