Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, said he'll introduce a new bill when Congress returns to mandate FDA "improve" the data it collects on agricultural antibiotics use.
The bill would for the first time require feed mills to report what antibiotics it uses in its feeds, what the drugs are used for and whether it's growth promotion or disease control and prevention.
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) said the bill is a retread of failed legislation and that if enacted, would be expensive, time-consuming, yield little new information, and possibly require feed mills to release customer information. The bill -- the "Delivering Antibiotic Transparency in Animals (DATA) Act" -- was immediately praised by Consumers Union, which last month delivered a petition to the agency signed by half a million people.
In addition to the feed mill reporting requirements, drug makers would be required to provide more than the total sales data now reported. The companies are not required to break the data down by species or distinguish which drugs were used in food producing animals. The reporting would only affect drugs used in food animals, and would exclude horses and pets.
FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is pursuing a voluntary industry collaborative approach, and intends to eliminate exclusive label claims for growth promotion/feed efficiency, opting instead to limit those uses within a new definition of "prevention" and tying all use to an expanded Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) program. Waxman joins Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) in seeking to somehow limit or eliminate the use of antibiotics in agriculture, claiming this use is the root cause of resistance in humans.