YONKERS, NY (July 28)–Consumers Union applauds Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester Crawford’s decision to ban the use of the antibiotic Baytril in treating chickens and turkeys. This decision is an important step in protecting public health by maintaining the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating food-borne illness.
Baytril is virtually identical to Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), a drug that is often used to treat severe food-borne illness in humans, such as that caused by the bacteria Campylobacter. In a 2002 Consumers Union nationally representative study of antibiotic resistance in store-bought chicken, in which 484 fresh, whole broilers bought in 25 metro areas were tested, the organization found that 42% of the chickens were contaminated with Campylobacter. Of the Campylobacter cultures isolated from samples of contaminated chickens, 26% were resistant to ciprofloxacin.
“FDA’s strong action today will help combat bacterial resistance to this important drug and preserve its ability to treat tens of thousands of Americans sickened each year by contaminated poultry,” says Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union.
“We urge Bayer, the maker of Baytril, not to appeal the FDA’s decision and to respect this clear move to protect public health,” added Halloran.
FOr more information contact:
Jean Halloran, 914-378-2457
Jen Shecter, 914-378-2402