Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, concurred in a legislative hearing last week that there are no definitive studies proving a definitive link between the use of antibiotics in animals and human resistance.

They testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health April 28. Their remarks were in response to queries from Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) as to whether there were definitive studies to link the use of antibiotics in animal feed to changes in resistance in humans.

In opening remarks, committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), said it is important to know the effects of using antibiotics in large numbers of animals without medical need. He also asked whether giving large numbers of animals antibiotics for non-therapeutic purposes as a preventive measure ran the risk of creating antibiotic resistance.

Frieden indicated to the committee that public health experts have recommended phasing out antibiotic growth promoters.

But Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) defended animal agriculture, the use of antibiotics and the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for antibiotics.

Pitts added there is a need to focus on areas where science has shown there is concern for antibiotic resistance – and that concern is not agriculture.

Dingell said that the bond between antibiotic use in animals and human antibiotic resistance is not known.