Quantcast

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

Energy

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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Variety of fermented food korean traditional kimchi cabbage and radish salad. white and red sauerkraut in ceramic plates over grey spotted background. Natasha Breen / REDA&CO / Universal Images Group / Getty Image

By Anne Danahy, MS, RDN

Even if you've never taken probiotics, you've probably heard of them.

These supplements provide numerous benefits because they contain live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, which support the healthy bacteria in your gut (1, 2, 3, 4).

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Singapore will become the first country in the world to place a ban on advertisements for carbonated drinks and juices with high sugar contents, its health ministry announced last week. The law is intended to curb sugar consumption since the country has some of the world's highest diabetes rates per capita, as Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A typical adult takes around 20,000 breaths per day. If you live in a megacity like Beijing, with many of those lungfuls you're likely to inhale a noxious mixture of chemicals and pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Fred Stone holds his brown swiss cow Lida Rose at his Arundel dairy farm on March 18 after a press conference where he spoke about PFAS chemical contamination in his fields. Gregory Rec / Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

By Susan Cosier

First there was Fred Stone, the third-generation dairy farmer in Maine who discovered that the milk from his cows contained harmful chemicals. Then came Art Schaap, a second-generation dairy farmer in New Mexico, who had to dump 15,000 gallons of contaminated milk a day.

Read More Show Less
Protesters attend the 32nd annual Fur-Free Friday demonstration on Nov. 23, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Ella DeGea / Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that that bans the sale and manufacture of fur products in the state. The fur ban, which he signed into law on Saturday, prohibits Californians from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Watchfield Solar Park in England. RTPeat / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Simon Evans

During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels, the analysis shows.

Read More Show Less
A demonstrator waves an Ecuadorian flag during protests against the end of subsidies to gasoline and diesel on Oct. 9 in Quito, Ecuador. Jorge Ivan Castaneira Jaramillo / Getty Images

The night before Indigenous Peoples' Day, an Indigenous-led movement in Ecuador won a major victory.

Read More Show Less
Protesters block the road outside Mansion House in London during an XR climate change protest. Gareth Fuller / PA Images via Getty Images

One week into Extinction Rebellion's planned two weeks of International Rebellion to demand action on the climate crisis, the London police have banned the group from the city.

Read More Show Less