Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Antibiotics in pork production: No pig in a poke

Posted January 20, 2012 by Andrew Ranallo   

Food and HealthAntibioticsFood safetyHealthLivestock

Used under creative commons license from essgee51.

A total of 395 pork samples were collected from a total of 36 retail stores in Iowa, Minnesota and New Jersey. Of those, 6.6 percent contained MRSA.

A rapidly growing body of evidence is spotlighting the overuse of antibiotics—and the antibiotic-resistant bacteria it breeds—in pork production as a widespread and serious danger to the American food supply and public health.

Today, IATP issued a press release detailing a new, peer-reviewed study we conducted in partnership with the University of Iowa College of Public Health finding methicillan-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—a bacteria that can cause serious human infections of the bloodstream, skin, lungs (pneumonia) and other organs—in retail meat products at nearly double the rate previous research suggests.

The samples, 395 in total, were collected from a total of 36 retail stores in Iowa, Minnesota and New Jersey. Among these samples, S. aureus was isolated from 256 samples (64.8 percent) and of those, 26 pork samples (6.6 percent of the total) were found to contain MRSA.

Take a potentially deadly bacteria like S. aureus and make it resistant to antibiotics and you have a dangerous, difficult to treat and costly public health threat. According to 2005 estimates, MRSA accounts for about 280,000 infections and nearly 19,000 deaths a year in hospitals. Infections outside of hospitals, in communities and on farms, are rising as well.

Our latest study comes in the wake of other research published in 2011, and one as recent as earlier this week out of Michigan, suggesting that using antibiotics in pig feed increases the number of antibiotic-resistant genes in gastrointestinal microbes in pigs—even resistance for antibiotics other than those administered.

The growing evidence against nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal feed speaks for itself. Threats like deadly MRSA are only increasing, and unless additional testing can inform both food policy and the American consumer, the trends will continue. We know the dangers of the estimated 20 million pounds a year of antibiotics used in animal feed, now we need action.

Read the press release for more, or the full report.

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