Report: Pork industry group responds to antibiotic documentary with online campaign

The National Pork Board has launched an online marketing campaign to direct consumers to websites that support the use of antibiotics in livestock following a television documentary critical of the practice.

The industry group emailed its strategy to food and agriculture leaders ahead of the airing earlier this week of the documentary "The Trouble with Antibiotics" on the PBS Frontline program, Reuters reported.

"The industry will tie any consumer searches for 'PBS Frontline' and 'Antibiotics' to the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance site, Food Source," the email stated, according to the news agency. "Included in these searches will be the terms 'pork, antibiotics and Frontline.' In those cases, users will be directed to the National Pork Board and [National Pork Producers Council] NPPC site"

Scientific evidence from the FDA proves a correlation between nonmedical use of antibiotics to fatten farm animals and spikes in antibiotic-resistant infections, including the dangerous MRSA bacteria. Earlier this year the regulatory agency revised its animal health rules, warning food producers against dispensing livestock antimicrobials unless the animals are sick.

Last month, President Obama signed an executive order to establish a task force to combat the growing problem of so-called superbugs that cause deadly antibiotic-resistant infections. That order coincided with a report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which proposed new ways of expediting the development of stronger antibiotics by the drug industry.

Those efforts, however, mainly focus on antibiotics in the human medical field, and some groups say they don't go far enough to curb the use of antibiotics in animals used for food, which has been cited as a major source of antimicrobial resistance in humans.

- read the Reuters story
- check out the documentary