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Groups criticize One Health Certified food label over antibiotic use standards
A coalition of animal welfare, public health, environmental, and consumer organizations is speaking out against use of the One Health Certified (OHC) label on chicken and turkey products, claiming the standards behind the label don’t protect against overuse of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals.
The OHC program is open to food producers who want to demonstrate to consumers a commitment to responsible, sustainable, and transparent animal care practices. Responsible antibiotic use in livestock is listed as one of the core principles of the OHC program, which links itself to the concept that human, animal, and environmental health are inextricably linked.
But in a press release yesterday, the coalition of 13 organizations said the OHC standards are weaker than and out of line with the responsible antibiotic use practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, and are less stringent than those already adopted by the US poultry industry.
In particular, the groups note that OHC standards allow the use of medically important antibiotics for disease prevention in animals, rather than reserving them for treating sick animals or controlling disease outbreaks on farms. The WHO guidelines recommend against using medically important antibiotics for disease prevention in food-producing animals, and many public health and antibiotic-resistance experts believe the practice contributes to the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria.
“Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to public health today and overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture is one of the driving forces behind this crisis,” said Laura Rogers, deputy director for the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. “Genuinely responsible use of antibiotics needs to be addressed in conjunction with improved animal health and welfare practices to decrease disease risks and minimize the need for antibiotics in the first place.”
The groups also say the OHC standards on animal welfare and environmental protection are lacking.
The OHC label was approved in early 2020 and is currently being used by a handful of grocery chains.
Jan 26 Coalition press release
CARB-X to fund development of low-cost diarrheal disease treatment
CARB-X announced today that it is awarding up to $5.35 million to Lumen Bioscience of Seattle to develop a new immunotherapy to prevent diarrheal diseases caused by Campylobacter jejuni and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.
The money will help fund development of LMN-GI-EEC-401, an oral antibiotic-alternative biologic designed to bind to and neutralize C jejuni and enterotoxigenic E coli, the two primary causes of what is commonly known as traveler’s diarrhea. In low- and middle-income countries, diarrheal diseases are a leading cause of death and disease among infants and children.
Lumen says the goal is to develop a cheap, edible, immuno-prophylactic drug that could be distributed in areas of the world where healthcare temperature control is not available.
“Preventatives are urgently needed for deadly infections,” CARB-X research and development chief Erin Duffy, PhD, said in a press release. “The Lumen project is an extremely innovative immunotherapy in the early phases of development, and if successful, could potentially transform the way we prevent deadly infections in infants and children, and save precious lives.”
The project could be eligible for up to $8.26 million more in non-dilutive funding from CARB-X (the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) if certain project milestones are met.
Jan 27 CARB-X press release