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Congress debates bills to phase out use of antibiotics
Legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress to phase out some uses of antibiotics in livestock. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Human Treatment Act has been introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy and Sen. Olympia Snowe in the Senate and by Rep. Louise Slaughter in the House. The bill could lead to restrictions on how and what antibiotics are used on farms, which could lead to higher production costs, according to Dairy Profit Weekly Editor Dave Natzke. While the proposal does not restrict use of antibiotics to treat sick animals, it does phase out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics, frequently added to livestock feeds to suppress bacteria and disease and promote faster growth. The bill also sets tougher standards for applications to manufacture and market animal antibiotics, and requires detailed recordkeeping on amounts and how antibiotics are used. The bill also provides federal payments to farmers to defray costs in switching to antibiotic-free management practices. Reports from USDA’s Federal milk marketing order hearing in Ohio this week indicate it could be a long time before additional federal order reforms are announced. Just a handful of people had testified after three days of hearings, Natzke reported, and it’s likely that USDA will have to schedule additional hearings later this spring. Targeting the lunch line The new chairman of the National Dairy Board, Lester Hardesty, a dairy producer from Greeley, Colo., said re-sealable, single serve, plastic containers for milk have been popular in schools. He said it was one more way that the dairy checkoff was “creating lifelong consumers of dairy” and did so by “putting the product in the