WASHINGTON, DC— Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today urged the Obama Administration to focus on reducing the overuse of antibiotics in food animal production as it moves forward in implementing the National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria it released today.

DeLauro is a former chairwoman of the subcommittee responsible for funding the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and currently serves as a senior member of that committee. DeLauro currently serves as the senior Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Health and Human Services and National Institute for Health (NIH).

“I agree with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report recommendation that USDA and NIH should develop alternatives to antibiotics in agriculture. However, we should be focused on cleaning up our agriculture production system, not wasting our precious cures on symptoms of a broken food production system. There is overwhelming scientific evidence misuse of antibiotics on factory farms has created a public health crisis and put our critical, lifesaving drugs at risk.

“In the meantime, this is why we need federal legislation like the Pathogen Reduction and Testing Reform Act, which would designate antibiotic resistant strains of salmonella and campylobacter as adulterants in meat, poultry, and egg products. Only then can we hope to combat this escalating public health crisis.

“The President’s announcement is much more promising for increasing surveillance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the public health system. The steps outlined today will help identify outbreaks earlier, and enable a faster and more effective response. We should be as vigilant with our food safety.”