Senate Introduces Bill to Limit Use of Antibiotics in Livestock

pigs photo

Photo: aaron13251

Antibiotic resistance has finally made its way onto the Senate radar again and with good reason considering that we've seen antibiotic resistance across British farms and this year in US hospitals and nursing homes to name just a few. It's a problem that's only getting worse with the expanded overuse of antibiotics. It's this practice that a Senate bill is looking to limit with the re-introduction of The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA).
According to Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the primary sponsor for PAMTA, reported on Civil Eats. "[t]he effectiveness of antibiotics for humans is jeopardized when they are used to fatten healthy pigs or speed the growth of chickens. This is a basic food safety initiative that would phase out the misuse of these drugs so that food in supermarkets across America will not spread strains of drug-resistant bacteria."

The Federal Register outlined how the sub therapeutic use of antibiotics actually causes resistance:

Misuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs creates selective evolutionary pressure that enables antimicrobial resistant bacteria to increase in numbers more rapidly than antimicrobial susceptible bacteria and thus increases the opportunity for individuals to become infected by resistant bacteria.

According to the FDA, 80 percent of the antibiotics produced in this country are used in animal agriculture. This amount is estimated to be more than four times the amount of drugs used to treat human illness.

The bill, which Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), all have worked together on was outlined by Civil Eats and does the following:

  • Phases out the non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in livestock;

  • Requires new applications for animal antibiotics to demonstrate the use of the antibiotic will not endanger public health;

  • Does not restrict the use of antibiotics to treat sick livestock or to treat pets.

"PAMTA will limit the agricultural use of seven types of antibiotics that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as critically important in human medicine to ensure that antibiotic-resistance is not inadvertently accelerated," according to Feinstein's office.

Let's hope that this time it gets some traction.

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More on Antibiotics
Denmark Drastically Limits Antibiotics in Livestock: Here's Why
The FDA Releases the Amount of Antibiotics Used in Factory Farmed Livestock and It's a Ton
Can We Get Antibiotics Out of the Meat Industry?

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