President creates task force to fight antibiotic resistance

President creates task force to fight antibiotic resistance

The White House has rolled out a strategy to combat drug-resistant bacteria in the agricultural and medical sectors, bringing a wide range of stakeholders together to address the ever-growing issue.

In an effort to ward off antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the White House recently called a meeting of the newly formed White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship. The meeting brought a wide range of stakeholders together to develop, promote, and implement guidelines and incentives for more responsible use of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine.

According to the Tech Times, over 150 companies and organizations were present at the meeting. Over the next five years, the stakeholders committed to implement changes in food systems and medical treatments that would reduce the number of drug-resistant bacterial strains. President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum that ordered Federal agencies and departments to cultivate a preference for meat and poultry sourced from farms that did not use excessive antibiotics to treat their animals.

The Presidential Food Service will immediately begin serving meat and poultry that was not treated with antibiotics or hormones, and by 2020 all Federal cafeterias will serve meats sourced from farms that use antibiotics responsibly.

The forum was intended to expand on the administration’s previous efforts to address antibiotic resistance, which contributes to over two million infections and around 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Participants in the forum included pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, food producers and distributors, insurance companies, and veterinarians. Resistance to antibiotics threatens not only livestock but people too. Treating drug-resistant bacteria with more antibiotics only exacerbates the problem, and it has become necessary to draft a comprehensive strategy to eliminate pathogens in food and patients without increasing their resistance to various treatments.

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