School Lunch Program: Remove Risk of SuperBugs from Children’s Lunches
  • Petitioning National School Lunch Program

This petition will be delivered to:

National School Lunch Program
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Tom Vilsack
Contracting Branch Chief
Duane Williams
Operations Branch Chief
Ronald Ulibarri
Acting Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist
Jill Auburn
Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs
Edward Avalos
Under Secretary for Food Safety
Dr. Elisabeth A. Hagen
Director Web Based Supply Chain Management
David Tuckwiller

School Lunch Program: Remove Risk of SuperBugs from Children’s Lunches

    1. Jennifer Amdur Spitz
    2. Petition by

      Jennifer Amdur Spitz

      northbrook, IL

Our teenage son, Sam, got seriously ill from eating chicken contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria. He lost 30 pounds and a month of high school. Doctors were perplexed. Antibiotics weren’t working. It turns out he was infected with a 'Superbug;' a strain of a food-borne bacteria that was resistant to antibiotics. I don't want something like this to happen to other children, so I need your help.

The experience prompted my family to look into where our food comes from and how this could happen. What we found left us feeling vulnerable. Today, most meat and poultry animals are raised in crowded, filthy confined conditions and fed antibiotics every single day. These drugs prevent animals that live in these inhumane conditions from getting sick, and also make animals grow faster than they would naturally.

The problem is, the more these drugs are fed to livestock the less effective they become for us humans.  Our food system is breeding Superbugs that cannot be stopped by regular antibiotics - antibiotics that should save human lives. Currently, about 70% of the antibiotics in this country go to healthy food animals. Most antibiotics that are fed to animals are the same drugs used to treat sick people. So when Sam ate chicken contaminated with a Superbug strain of bacteria, antibiotics failed. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria (superbugs) kill more Americans every year than AIDS.

Recently The New York Times wrote an editorial on drugs used in livestock in which it said the "rise of antibiotic-resistant genes poses a potential worldwide human health risk." The American Medical Association, World Health Organization, and American Academy of Pediatrics have also come out against the overuse of antibiotics in animals raised for meat.

While my family and I explored the horrors of the food system, we realized that we are not powerless. We discovered many amazing people who inspire us with creative and innovative ways that they are revolutionizing our food system. We call them “Food Patriots” and that's the title of the film we are making about our journey. Our biggest realization from this experience is that as consumers, we have the power to influence how our food is produced. Companies get alarmed when they lose market share. We can pressure them to make improvements by buying meat and poultry raised without antibiotics.

The USDA manages the National School Lunch Program which feeds millions of kids everyday, and they should take action on this immediately. It’s doable! For example, Chicago Public Schools made a massive purchase of chicken raised without antibiotics last year and it has been a very successful program. Please sign to support this common sense solution to a problem that's putting our nation's health in danger.

Thankfully, Sam made a full recovery. But another child might not have been so lucky. We know for a fact that children are among the most vulnerable to these illnesses because their immune systems are still developing.

In addition to purchasing antibiotic free meats for schools, the US government should be putting a stop to the misuse of antibiotics in livestock.  Please sign and share, so we can hear all your comments from students, teachers, parents, and other consumers who demand safer food for everyone.

Recent signatures


    1. Food Patriots are Winning, One Meal at a Time

      Jennifer Amdur Spitz
      Petition Organizer

      "This is the journey of a Midwestern mother whose son nearly died from contaminated food and the army of American Food Patriots who teach her that even one person has the power to make a difference." Breckinridge #FilmFestival calls @FoodPatriots a compelling & funny #documentary, "revolutionizes the way we eat"

      Because Sam survived the Superbug, we can afford to use humor to get our message across. So many food films are scary. Food Patriots is not scary. It's inspiring, empowering and gives people a way forward without judgement -- beginning from wherever they are today on the continuum. While as a nation, our food situation is dire, the beauty is that we each have the power to make a difference for ourselves, our families and our communities. Our purchases add up to a huge impact in the marketplace.

      We have been showing Food Patriots in schools, communities and universities. Everywhere we go, people are inspired to make a 10% change towards more fresh, local, organic and sustainably raised foods. Some start gardens. Some learn how to shop and cook affordable healthy meals. Some petition their school lunch programs for antibiotic free meats. But everyone recognizes their own food story, and their ability to change their story at any time.

      Thank you for signing my petition. And for taking this step to change your own food story today. 20,000 have seen Food Patriots so far, and the ripples are beginning to spread. To see the film, request a screening in your school or community, or make a donation to the education program, visit

      -- Jennifer

      Breckenridge Film Fest: 'Food Patriots' revolutionizes the way we eat |

      Editor's note: This is one in a series of short reviews of films showing at the Breckenridge Film Festival. "Food Patriots" is a sincere, compelling and funny documentary about one family's struggle with a foodborne illness and their attempt to change the way they eat. The film will screen at noon Saturday, Sept.

    2. Food Patriots Winning:New Supplier Tyson to Produce Antibiotic Free Chicken

      Jennifer Amdur Spitz
      Petition Organizer

      When we met with the folks at USDA who are in charge of procuring meat through the commodities program for the school lunch program, they told us that there were not enough suppliers to produce antibiotic free chicken. In February, Tyson, one of the worlds largest chicken producers said that they were going to produce antibiotic free chicken. So how about now USDA? How about now we provide chicken raised without antibiotics to our nation's school children?

      Americans Want Antibiotic-Free Chicken, And The Industry Is Listening

      In an age when consumers want transparency in how their food is produced, meat producers are under the microscope. And the meat industry is responding: Antibiotic-free chicken is showing up everywhere you look. Industry leviathans Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods have both come out with their own antibiotic-free brands of chicken - something that might have seemed practically unthinkable several years back.

    3. Food Patriots is a hit at Wisconsin Film Festival 2014

      Jennifer Amdur Spitz
      Petition Organizer

      <i>Food Patriots</i> approaches its subject with humor and humility.
      Food Patriots approaches its subject with humor and humility.

      The movement toward fresh, local, sustainably produced food is one of the best things to happen to this country in recent years. It means healthier kids and adults, less obesity and all of the issues that spring from it, and less impact on our environment. It turns out that obtaining more of what we eat locally is the best way to fight climate change.

      But here's the problem. It can be an elitist movement. There is a snobbery and sometimes a militancy around good food that can be off-putting. Some of the writing and the films produced around this movement reduce it all to a simple story

    4. Chicago Tribune: Farm Antibiotics Raising Concern up the Food Chain

      Jennifer Amdur Spitz
      Petition Organizer

      This story in the Tribune helped us get a second meeting with the USDA. Unfortunately, they won't budge. USDA says they cannot issue a request to purchase antibiotic free meat for school lunches because even a small purchase could be challenged by the conventional producers. So what? Well, they don't feel our wishes are worth the effort. We need to shout louder.

      Does anyone know any school district in the US that is required by its board to purchase antibiotic free meat or chicken? If this is their requirement, the Feds have to fulfill it. Please respond if you know one.

      Chicago Tribune: Farm Antibiotics Raising Concerns up the Food Chain | Food Patriots

      Chicago Tribune: Farm Antibiotics Raising Concerns up the Food Chain Posted on 5.28.13 by Food Patriots The Chicago Tribune featured the story that started Food Patriots on Sunday, May 26th: Sam Spitz, 22, of Northbrook holds Roscoe, one of the family's chickens. Spitz grew seriously ill from an antibiotic-resistant pathogen as a teen.

    5. Went on Good Day Chicago (Fox News) this morning

      Jennifer Amdur Spitz
      Petition Organizer

      Discussed Food Patriots and the petition. Still waiting to hear back from USDA about issuing a purchasing request for meat and poultry raised without antibiotics their commodities program. I'll bet a lot of our schools would want to buy it! Please email David Tuckwiller to let him know you want to get the risk of superbugs out of childrens' school lunch.

    6. Reached 150,000 signatures
    7. Food Patriots Documentary and Public Engagement Campaign

      Jennifer Amdur Spitz
      Petition Organizer

      "Food Patriots" is a personal story about changing the way my family thinks about food. Its about getting outlaw chickens, growing a garden and discovering a social movement all around us that is changing the way America eats.

      Food Patriots, a Documentary and Public Engagement Campaign

      Food Patriots is focused on an issue that directly touches all of us -- food. We aim to tell a story that unlocks the potential for healthier lives, a less polluted environment and new jobs that would evolve naturally if Americans shift by just 10% the way they buy, eat and educate the next generation about food.

    8. Reached 100,000 signatures
    9. Supermoms Against Superbugs 2013 Advocacy Day

      Pulin Modi
      Senior Campaigner

      "On Tuesday, April 16, more than 50 moms, dads, and other caregivers will participate in the second annual Supermoms Against Superbugs Advocacy Day."

    10. Reached 50,000 signatures
    11. Food Patriots website

      Pulin Modi
      Senior Campaigner
      Food Patriots, a Documentary and Public Engagement Campaign

      Food Patriots is focused on an issue that directly touches all of us -- food. We aim to tell a story that unlocks the potential for healthier lives, a less polluted environment and new jobs that would evolve naturally if Americans shift by just 10% the way they buy, eat and educate the next generation about food.

    12. Learn about the Supermoms

      Pulin Modi
      Senior Campaigner
      Meet Our Supermoms

      Driven by the increasing awareness of antibiotic resistance and its link to food animal production and the ever growing demand for meat and poultry products raised without antibiotics, The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, hosted a Supermoms Against Superbugs Advocacy Day on May 15 in Washington, D.C.


    Reasons for signing

    • pha chi SAN JOSE, CA
      • 6 days ago

      I have children's and I do not want the same thing happen to them

    • ray newlands MIAMI, FL
      • 21 days ago

      Fighting Obesity is my

      besides that we MUST make sure what our kids all kids are being fed is the best it can be! Short Chef

    • Salvatore Alfieri ROCHESTER, NY
      • 23 days ago

      It's up to us to protect our children. How can we do this when the Gov. allows this to continue with our food supply. Ironic considering they always pass laws and say it's for the children. Why not THIS!!!

    • Randi Hofmann SKOKIE, IL
      • 23 days ago

      Because a child should be able to eat a healthy antibiotic free GMO free organic lunch at every school in America. The Federal Government does not care what they feed these children. We do.

    • Jon Robinson LAKEWOOD, CO
      • 23 days ago

      Peoples health must not be taken for granted.


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