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

FDA limits antibiotics in livestock: Better late than never

Posted January 4, 2012 by Andrew Ranallo   

Food and HealthHealthy Food ActionAntibioticsFood safetyHealth

Used under creative commons license from David W Oliver.

In 2010 alone, nearly 54,094 lbs. of cephalosporins were used in U.S. livestock operations, according to recent FDA data.

Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a ban for unapproved uses of cephalosporins in food animals. Cephalosporins, a class of critically important human antibiotics, are also widely used in livestock and poultry—in 2010 alone, nearly 54,094 lbs. were used in U.S. livestock operations, according to recent FDA data. While some cephalosporins are used in treating sick animals, many more have been routinely given for so-called extra-label use to prevent disease, such as by injecting the eggs meant to hatch chickens that would grow into broiler chickens. The FDA action comes in the face of abundant scientific evidence that extra-label uses have helped to create cephalosporin-resistant bacteria, in animals and also in the food products from them.  

“While we welcome FDA’s belated action, the delay is shocking. Tens of thousands of people continued to become ill from cephalosporin-resistant Salmonella when there was clear evidence the extra-label use of these drugs contributes to the spread of these and other resistant superbugs,” IATP’s David Wallinga said in a press release issued today by the Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW) coalition, of which IATP is a member.

Unfortunately, widespread use of antibiotics in animal agriculture and the increasingly resistant superbugs it helps to breed are not new developments. While the FDA’s newest ban is indeed a step forward it comes years late, and certainly leaves a lot more work ahead.

How belated is FDA’s action? Well, back in 2008, IATP and KAW submitted comments to the FDA on this very issue, and today’s ban is only the second action the FDA has taken on the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture in nearly seven years (the first coming in 2005). IATP’s Healthy Food Action also led an action in July 2011, urging supporters to write FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to ban cephalosporins once and for all.

Let’s hope the momentum continues and other sources of antibiotic resistance, like antibiotics given to livestock via feed—over 70 percent of all antibiotics administered to livestock, in fact—are addressed before public health suffers even further. 

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