Legislation that would limit the use of antibiotics by licensed veterinarians to prevent and control disease in animal agriculture was approved last week by California's Senate Appropriations Committee.
The bill now goes to the Senate floor for consideration.
Senate Bill 416, sponsored by Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter), was amended earlier in May by the Senate Education Committee to require school districts "to make every effort to purchase poultry and meat products that have not been treated with non-therapeutic antibiotics.” Florez's original bill prohibited schools from serving poultry or meat products from animals that had been treated with antibiotics at any time during the life of the animal.
The bill would require each of the state's 1,000 school districts that purchase such products, or those that don't know if the products have been so treated, to report annually to the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) the reasons those products were purchased. That portion of the bill would commence Jan. 1, 2012.
The bill also states, "Additionally, state and local governments, when purchasing meat supplies, would prefer meat supplies produced without the use of medically important antibiotics as feed additives, potentially imposing a state mandated local program. Finally, this bill would, commencing January 1, 2105, prohibit a person from using antibiotics for nontherapeutic use in any animal raised for production of any human food product.”
A broad coalition of agricultural groups opposes the bill. They include Western United Dairymen, Alliance of Western Milk Producers, California Dairies Inc., California Farm Bureau Federation, California Poultry Federation, California School Nutrition Association and the California Teamsters.
Read the bill at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_416&sess=CUR&house=B&author=florez
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.