PORTLAND – The Union of Concerned Scientists and Wild Oats Markets Inc. will present a forum on “Antibiotics in Our Food Supply and Your Health” at noon Thursday, July 17, in the Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, 87 Marginal Way.

The panelists will be Rebecca Goldburg, Ph.D., a senior scientist with Environmental Defense; Dr. Syd Sewall, former president of the Maine chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Mel Coleman Jr., chairman of Coleman Natural Meats, which raises beef without antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts in the feed; Jennifer Palembas, outreach organizer, Food and Environment Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists; and Scott Reed, store director, Wild Oats’ Portland store.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is an independent, nonprofit alliance of 60,000 citizens and scientists. Wild Oats Markets Inc. is a natural and organic foods retailer.

They said they’re joining forces to encourage regulation of antibiotic use in the food supply. Sewall and Margaret Mellon also have sent an open letter to Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins urging them to back an initiative by Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.

In their letter, they said that Kennedy is “set to introduce legislation to limit the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, preserving them as life-saving medicines for humans. As champions on public health issues, your sponsorship of this bill at the outset may vastly increase its hope for passage, and ultimately make an enormous difference for the health of Mainers and vulnerable citizens across the country.

“Scientists agree that today’s massive antibiotic use in animal agriculture harms human health. Real world experience shows we can do without these drugs in raising food animals. Citizens of Maine demand that these life-saving drugs be preserved for their families before it’s too late.”

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