Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement applauding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) latest steps to combat antibiotic resistance and ensure antibiotics are used appropriately in agriculture:
“The rules that the FDA put in place today to limit unnecessary antibiotic use in farm animals will save lives, plain and simple. Antibiotic resistance, which is driven by the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and health care, is one of the biggest public health threats we face.
“Inappropriate antibiotic use in farm animals contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in the meat we buy at grocery stores. The CDC estimates there are more than 400,000 antibiotic-resistant foodborne infections each year. These pathogens are often more virulent and harder to treat and can lead to death.
“FDA’s new Veterinary Feed Directive requires, for the first time, that licensed veterinarians prescribe antibiotics that are administered in animal feed. This is a key step toward ensuring the judicious use of antibiotics on farms.
“The rule also requires that veterinarians be familiar with the farms and knowledgeable about the animals for which they prescribe antibiotics. Under current regulations, 98 percent of antibiotics sold for use in agriculture do not require a veterinary prescription, which has led to overuse.”
In April, Feinstein wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell urging the department to finalize the Veterinary Feed Directive rule.