Issue Brief

Joint letter on State of the Science Regarding Antibiotic Use in Food Animals

Sound Science: Antibiotic Use in Food Animals Leads to Drug Resistant Infections in People

Dear Senator/Representative:

The undersigned medical and public health organizations wish to clarify misinformation and confusion about the state of scientific knowledge concerning the contribution of animal agriculture to human antibiotic resistance.

Recent statements made on the House floor called into question forty years' worth of peer‐reviewed scientific literature, suggesting this body of evidence is not “hard science.” These statements took aim at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claiming the agency lacks scientific proof to support addressing antibiotic (or antimicrobial) misuse in food animal production. H. Res. 98, introduced in February, also questions FDA's scientific basis for decision‐making. On the contrary, the evidence is so strong of a link between misuse of antibiotics in food animals and human antibiotic resistance that FDA and Congress should be acting much more boldly and urgently to protect these vital drugs for human illness. In fact, government data show that the vast majority of antibiotics in the U.S. are sold for use in food animals, not people.

Below are highlights from the significant body of literature on the human health threat posed by antibiotic misuse in food animals, including recent federal agency testimony, government summary reviews of peer‐reviewed journal articles and individual examples from within the literature.

Download the PDF to read the full letter.

Media Contact

Heather Cable