Consumer Groups Urge Federal Agencies to Support Global Ban on Animal Drugs Banned in U.S.

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August 21, 2103

Consumer Groups Urge Federal Agencies to Support Global Ban on Animal Drugs Banned in U.S. 

United Nation Meeting on Issue to be Held in Minneapolis August 24-30

Yonkers, NY—Consumers Union (CU), Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), and Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) have written three federal agencies asking them to support international standards—up for discussion next week in Minneapolis—that would prohibit animal drugs globally that are banned in the United States. All three groups will be present and participating in the meeting.

“Nine of these drugs have been prohibited for use on animals in the United States for many years,” said Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports. “Among them are DES, which is well known for causing cancer in the daughters of women who took the drug when pregnant, and the antipsychotic drug thorazine. Yet inexplicably, the U.S. is leading a campaign to allow other countries permission to use these drugs.”

The standards for the nine drugs are being discussed August 24 to 30 in Minneapolis, MN, at a meeting of Codex Alimentarius, the UN food standards agency. Codex standards serve as the global “gold standard” for food safety and are automatically considered valid under World Trade Organization rules.

“We believe the U.S. position on these Codex standards potentially put U.S. consumers at risk, when they eat imported meat and fish or eat these foods when they travel, as well as consumers in other countries,” Hansen said.

“These drugs are not needed for animal health and most countries have adopted safer alternatives,” said Steven Roach, Public Health Program Director of the Food Animal Concerns Trust. “We urge the U.S. delegation to insist on a recommendation that other countries prohibit use of these drugs, as the U.S. itself does.”

“Illegal drug residues are one of the most common violations in imported seafood. Eliminating these uses is essential to protecting consumers,” said Caroline Smith DeWaal, Food Safety Director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

A copy of the consumer groups’ letter to USDA, FDA, and USTR is available here.

Contact: Naomi Starkman, nstarkman at gmail.com, 917.539.3924