U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY), said she plans to introduce new legislation authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to collect data on “farm-level antibiotic use.” The pledge was part of a letter Gillibrand sent Tuesday to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. In the letter, Gillibrand said that “the scale of injudicious use” of antibiotics in poultry production documented by Reuters “was staggering.”
Another member of Congress, Rep. Louise Slaughter, (D-NY), introduced legislation in February, 2013, that would require drug makers, livestock producers and the FDA to release more data on antibiotic use in food animals. On Monday, she urged fellow lawmakers to address the issue at a hearing on antibiotic resistance scheduled Friday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health.
“Industry has kept data showing the rampant, dangerous use of antibiotics hidden from the public for one reason: to protect corporate profits at the expense of public health,” Slaughter said.
Reuters reviewed more than 320 internal documents, called “feed tickets,” that detail the practices of five major companies – Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, George’s and Koch Foods. The feed tickets list the names and grams per ton of each “active drug ingredient” in feed. They also indicate the FDA-approved purpose of those medications, and specify during which stage in a chicken’s roughly six-week life the feed should be administered.