2000 Resolutions Adopted by the National Environmental Health Association

Journal of Environmental Health, December 2000 | Go to article overview
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2000 Resolutions Adopted by the National Environmental Health Association


Introduction

One of NEHAs responsibilities is to speak up on issues of concern to our members. Adopting resolutions is one way of fulfilling that responsibility. At NEHA's 2000 Annual Educational Conference in Denver, Colorado, the council of delegates (upon recommendation of your board of directors) voted officially to adopt resolutions on the following issues:

* the use of antibiotics in livestock feed,

* labeling of genetically modified organisms in food,

* indoor air quality, and

* food safety.

The resolutions on indoor air quality and food safety were originally adopted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Because NEHA supports these resolutions in principle, its council of delegates voted to adopt them along with the others.

By publishing NEHA resolutions in your Journal, we are striving to keep you informed about where we stand as your association on issues critical to environmental health. We welcome all comments, whether for or against the resolutions, and encourage readers with opinions on these issues to express them in letters to the editor.

Resolution on Antibiotics in Animal Feed and Human Health

Purpose: To address scientific studies indicating that antibiotics in livestock feed may be endangering human health.

Whereas:

* Antibiotics were discovered over 50 years ago;

* for more than 30 years, antibiotics have been added to animal feed;

* nearly one-half of the 50 million pounds of antibiotics produced in the United States are used in animals, mostly as feed additives to promote growth;

* human-medicine antibiotics currently used in livestock and poultry food include arsanilic acid, avoparcin, bacitracin, bam bermycin, chlortetracycline, erythromycin, furazolidone, glycopeptides, lincomycin, neomycin sulfate, nitrofurazone, 3-nitro-4-hydroxy phenylarsonic acid, oleandomycin, oxytetracycline, penicillin, procaine penicillin, sodium arsanilate, streptogramin, streptomycin, sulfamethazine, sulfaquinox-aline, sulfathiazole, tetracycline, tylosin, vancomycin, and virginiamycin;

* scientific research has demonstrated that adding antibiotics to livestock and poultry feed contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance among foodborne and other pathogens;

* antibiotic-resistant bacteria can transfer their resistance genes to disease-causing bacteria, resulting in antibiotic-resistant infections in people;

* there is a concern that feeding antibiotics to farm animals endangers the value of those drugs for treating life-threatening diseases in humans;

* the subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock feed jeopardizes new human-use antibiotics and jeopardizes human health;

* a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to "Ban the Use of Certain Antibiotics in Livestock Feed" was submitted and endorsed by over 50 scientists and 41 health and consumer groups; and

* leading health authorities, including the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Academy of Sciences have called for a ban on subtherapeutic use of certain antibiotics in agriculture0;

Therefore, be it resolved that NEHA requests that FDA ban subtherapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock and poultry feed for those antibiotics that may be used in (or that are related to those used in) human medicine.

Be it further resolved that FDA should rescind already approved uses of medically important antibiotics in livestock and poultry feed in order to protect those invaluable drugs.

Resolution on Genetically Modified Organisms

Whereas:

* in 1998, the European Union ruled that food manufacturers must state on a label when genetically modified ingredients have been used;

* labeling regulations for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are now (as of 1999) in effect in Europe;

* NEHA's counterpart in the United Kingdom, the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health, has adopted a policy position that supports a five-year freeze on GMOs;

* the British Medical Association has recommended that genetically engineered foods (GEFs) be labeled;

* Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have required mandatory GEF labels;

* an estimated 60 percent of processed food now contains some GEFs;

* legislation has now been introduced into the U.

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