Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more information on the FDA’s efforts to curb the overuse of antibiotics in food animal production. The senators said, “The use of antibiotics in food-producing animals must be reduced as part of the effort to preserve the efficacy of antibiotics. Research has shown that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are most likely to develop when antibiotics are used continuously at low doses ‑ the type of regimen used frequently in food animal production.”

The FDA has issued guidance that asks for animal health companies to voluntarily remove from their labels the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals. The senators are asking the FDA for the following information.

  • How do you intend to determine whether the non-judicious use of antibiotics in food animal production materially declines as a consequence of guidance documents No. 209 and No. 213, or simply continues under disease prevention or containment labels?
  • If no change in overall usage is observed, what steps will the FDA take to address the public health threat of antibiotic overuse in food animal production?
  • What actions does the FDA plan to take to make sure that approved labeling indications do not pose the same risks of fostering resistance as the production uses that are being voluntarily phased out in response to guidance documents No. 209 and No. 213?
  • What is your plan for completing inspections of facilities to ensure proper collection and enforcement of Veterinary Feed Directives (VFD)? What, if any, additional resources or authorities are needed?
  • How do you plan to collect and compile data from the VFDs to better track how specific antibiotics are being used in different types of animals?

The FDA recently announced that all companies affected by this policy have agreed to phase-out growth promotion.