Members Call on HHS and USDA to End Overuse of Human Antibiotics in Farm Animals
WASHINGTON, DC (March 17, 2017) — U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Louise Slaughter (NY-25) today wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging increased collaboration and oversight to reduce the inappropriate use of medically important antibiotics in food animal production.
At the request of Gillibrand, Feinstein, Warren, DeLauro, and Slaughter, the General Accounting Office’s (GAO) new report, “Antibiotic Resistance: More Information Needed to Oversee Use of Medically Important Drugs in Food Animals,” found gaps in oversight and identified several actions needed to prevent the continued use of antibiotics for general prevention of disease. The changes include altering medication labels, increasing data collection, and improving collaboration among the USDA, FDA, and CDC during investigations of foodborne illnesses.
“The rise of antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to global health, and the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in agriculture has been linked to the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria,” the Members wrote in their letter. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that antibiotic resistant bacteria cause two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States every year.”
The Members are calling on the FDA, USDA, and CDC to coordinate the collection of on-farm data regarding how antibiotics are used and investigate outbreaks of foodborne illnesses caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
The full letter is available here.