US State adops purchasing policy aimed at antibiotics in livestock

06-06-2006 | |

Concerns about human health from the use of antibiotics to promote growth in poultry, pigs and cattle has prompted the United States state of Maine to adopt a meat purchasing policy.

The policy’s supports are calling it the first state meat purchasing preference policy of its kind in the United States.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists antibiotics are passed to humans through the meat, creating new strains of bacteria that are resisting to antibiotic treatment and making it harder to treat infections in people.

The policy tells meat producers that the state prefers to buy products from animals that have not been given antibiotics for non-therapeutic purposes. It also encourages Maine school districts to accept contracts with suppliers whose products meet the preference.

The new Maine policy stems from a law that also calls for further study into the prudent use of antibiotics in Maine animals.

Supporters have also asked members of Congress in Maine and New Hampshire to support federal legislation addressing the issue. All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation are co-sponsoring Senate or House versions of the bill.