Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

FDA and Ethanol Industry Ignore Regulations and Allow Antibiotics in Ethanol Production

Energy
FDA and Ethanol Industry Ignore Regulations and Allow Antibiotics in Ethanol Production

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Despite federal regulations to the contrary, unapproved antibiotics used in ethanol production are ending up in animal feed. As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fails to enforce its own ruling on the matter, drug companies and ethanol producers are knowingly taking advantage, skirting the rules and driving up unnecessary antibiotic use, according to a new investigation from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

Despite available alternatives, antibiotic use in ethanol production is widespread as a tool to manage bacterial outbreaks. According to FDA and university testing, those same antibiotics remain present in the nutrient-rich leftover corn mash from the ethanol production process, known as “distillers grains” (DGS), that is repurposed and sold as livestock feed to cattle, dairy, swine and poultry producers.

While there is no law prohibiting the sales of DGS containing antibiotic residues, the FDA has quietly ruled that antibiotics used in ethanol production are food additives, thus requiring FDA approval before they can be sold. Yet companies marketing these antibiotics continue to do so as the FDA chooses not to enforce its own rules.

“While there are no available alternatives to antibiotics for human health, there are alternatives for ethanol production,” said author Julia Olmstead, senior program associate with IATP. “The FDA needs to follow the law and prohibit antibiotics sales to ethanol producers.”

Many ethanol producers are already using readily available alternatives to antibiotics, and the regulations for protecting public health are already in place. An immediate ban on the use of antibiotics in ethanol production, halting antibiotic marketing to the ethanol industry by drug companies, and a voluntary transition to antibiotic alternatives by ethanol producers are among IATP’s top policy recommendations.

Read the report, Bugs in the System: How the FDA Fails to Regulate Antibiotics in Ethanol Production.

For more information, click here.

—————

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.

An electric car at an eVgo charging station in a parking lot in Dublin, California on June 20, 2018. Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Long-finned pilot whales are seen during a 1998 stranding in Marion Bay in Tasmania, Australia. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.

Read More Show Less
A protest in solidarity with the Wetʼsuwetʼen's anti-pipeline struggle, at Canada House in Trafalgar Square on March 1, 2020 in London, England. More than 200 environmental groups had their Facebook accounts suspended days before an online solidarity protest. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Facebook suspended more than 200 accounts belonging to environmental and Indigenous groups Saturday, casting doubt on the company's stated commitments to addressing the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
The Västra Hamnen neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden, runs on renewable energy. Tomas Ottosson / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Harry Kretchmer

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch