A Report the USDA Doesn’t Want You To See

The USDA commissioned, published and even praised a review that it made available on its National Agricultural Library website last June. As of last Friday, the document is gone and no explanations were provided. The only way to get a copy is from a cached version provided by the Union of Concerned Scientist.

So why was the document removed? The report was assembled by Vaishali Dharmarha, a research assistant at the University of Maryland. It is a summary of research from 63 academic papers and government studies.

The following are just a few of the findings:

  • “Use and misuse of antimicrobial drugs in food animal production and human medicine is the main factor accelerating antimicrobial resistance.”
  • “[F]ood animals, when exposed to antimicrobial agents, may serve as a significant reservoir of resistant bacteria that can transmit to humans through the food supply.”
  • “Several studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella showed that [antibiotic resistance] in Salmonella strains was most likely due to the antimicrobial use in food animals, and that most infections caused by resistant strains are acquired from the consumption of contaminated food.”
  • “Farmers and farm workers may get exposed to resistant bacteria by handling animals, feed, and manure. These exposures are of significant concern to public health, as they can transfer the resistant bacteria to family and community members, particularly through person-to-person contacts.”
  • “Resistant bacteria can also spread from intensive food animal production area to outside boundaries through contact between food animals and animals in the external environment. Insects, flies, houseflies, rodents, and wild birds play an important role in this mode of transmission. They are particularly attracted to animal wastes and feed sources from where they carry the resistant bacteria to several locations outside the animal production facility.”

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