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Democrat lawmakers want more oversight of animal antibiotics

A report by the Government Accountability Office says more information is needed to deal with gaps in oversight on antibiotic use in food animals.

A letter from the lawmakers who asked for the study, all Democrats, has been sent to the acting deputy Ag Secretary at USDA and the head of the Health and Human Services Department asking for information about questions the GAO report raised.

They want to know what is done with data collected on antibiotic use on the farm and in large-scale operations; what the USDA is doing to ensure veterinarians and vet students get appropriate training; and, how the FDA will make sure antibiotics now labeled for prevention won’t be used for growth promotion, since the labels are similar.

The letter was sent by Senators Gillibrand, Feinstein and Warren, and Representatives DeLauro and Slaughter.

They want the FDA, USDA and CDC to coordinate the collection of on-farm data about how antibiotics are used and to investigate foodborne illness outbreaks caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

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