Senators ask for information on the overuse of antibiotics and animals

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have written Secretaries Sylvia Burwell (Health and Human Services), Tom Vilsack (USDA) and Ash Carter (Defense) regarding the implementation of President Obama’s Executive Order, “Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.”

The three secretaries serve as co-chairs of the Interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. The Senators are asking for information on how the task force plans to address critical gaps in current Food & Drug Administration policies to address public health threats posed by the “overuse of antibiotics in food animals.” They also ask that HHS appoint at least three experts who understand the link between the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and public health and who do not have a conflicting business interest to the Presidential Advisory Council on Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

The Senators said, “Representatives from industrial animal producers associations and the veterinary drug industry have publically voiced doubts about the need to reduce antibiotic use in animals and about the impact that the FDA’s policies will have on the amount of drugs used. However, public health experts agree that the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture is a critical contributor to antibiotic resistance. These experts need to have a seat at the table.”

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