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News 869 views update:Jan 12, 2010

Slaughter seeks new study on animal antibiotics

New York Rep. Louise Slaughter, has asked the Government Accountability Office to conduct a new study on the federal government's tracking and monitoring antibiotic use in animals and the government's efforts to assess and mitigate "human health risk related to antibiotic use in animals".

Slaughter, who chairs the House Rules Committee, is the author of H.R. 1549, the "PAMTA" bill (Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act). The bill seeks to end non-therapeutic, animal use of 7 antibiotics that are key treatments for human illness, reports Feedstuffs.

In a Sept. 21 letter to the GAO, Slaughter, who is a microbiologist, noted "the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been working for nearly 2 decades on efforts to track and monitor data on antibiotic use in animals to assess the human health risk related to antibiotic use in animals and help mitigate that risk. Yet, in a 2005 report entitled Antibiotic Resistance: Federal Agencies Need to Better Focus Efforts to Address Risk to Humans from Antibiotic Use in Animals, GAO found that data were not being collected on the types and amounts of antibiotics used in different species of food animals or whether they were used to promote growth, prevent disease, or treat disease."

She asked the GAO for a study to address the following key areas:
- What data exist on the types and quantities of antibiotics used in food animals and on the purposes for which they are used?
- What further data do USDA, FDA, and CDC believe are needed to assess and mitigate the risks to humans from antibiotic use in animals and what efforts are underway or are needed to collect these data?
- To what extent is USDA monitoring food animals and meat for the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens, such as E. Coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Listeria?
- How effectively is FDA overseeing industry compliance with currently approved animal antibiotics and uses for these antibiotics?
- What is FDA’s plan and timeframe for reevaluating the antibiotics (and antibiotic uses) that it has approved for animals?
- What efforts have USDA, FDA, and CDC taken to assess the human health risks related to antibiotic use in animals, and what have the assessments shown?

Source: Feedstuffs

Natalie Berkhout

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