March 21, 2017

Members of Congress Call for Ending Antibiotic Overuse in Agriculture

Washington D.C. -Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswomen Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) called on the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture to increase collaboration and oversight to reduce the inappropriate use of medically important antibiotics in food animal production.

At the request of the members, the GAO issued a new report that 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," wrote the members. "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 introduced legislation this week to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture that leads to drug-resistant bacteria.

The full text of the letter can be found here