Senators Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a rule to increase data collection on the use of medically important antibiotics in agriculture and to work with veterinarians and industry to develop a plan to collect data on how antibiotics are used on farms.
Currently, FDA does not have a complete picture of antibiotic use in agriculture, the senators stated. For example, data collected do not allow public health agencies to study trends in the use of antibiotics in different food-producing animal species.
Improving data collection on antibiotic sales and distribution would allow FDA to begin to estimate species-specific antibiotic use. Such data would also assist in evaluating the effectiveness of FDA’s judicious antibiotic use policy as well as President Obama’s National Strategy for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, they explained.
“Given the president’s national strategy, it is our view that you should expeditiously propose a rule to improve antibiotic distribution data collection,” the senators wrote. “Data on antibiotic use and resistance enables federal agencies to take action to protect the public health and supports research into better understanding complex questions related to the development of antibiotic resistance and potential links to human health. Furthermore, data regarding the distribution of medically important antibiotics is needed to monitor the impact of your new policies aimed at eliminating the injudicious use of these drugs in agriculture.”