By Catherine Merlo
Two weeks after he proposed legislation to ban tail docking of dairy cows, California's Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez has introduced a bill that would restrict the use of antibiotics in raising livestock.
Senate Bill 416 would prohibit schools from serving poultry or meat products treated with antibiotics to pupils. That portion of the bill, if passed, would take effect in January 2012.
In addition, the bill would forbid a person from using antibiotics for nontherapeutic and prophylactic use in any animal raised for the production of any human food product. Further, the bill would require state and local governments, when purchasing meat supplies for human consumption, to prefer supplies produced without the use of medically important antibiotics as feed additives.
Florez (D-Shafter) chairs the California State Senate's Food and Agriculture committee, which will hold an informational hearing on "the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in our food supply” March 17 in Sacramento.
Earlier this year, the state senate announced it would put more emphasis on environmental and food safety issues through its revamped Food and Agriculture committee. "For the first time this committee is not just going to look at the production of food, we're going to look at the distribution of food and we're also going to look at the consumption of food,” Florez told the Sacramento Bee in January.
Florez's district covers key dairy-producing areas of the Central Valley, including portions of Kern, Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties.
Click here to read the bill.
Learn more at the California Food & Agriculture Web site – not an official Senate Web site – at http://www.californiasafefood.com/.