FDA proposes to expand collection of data on animal drug usage to include major food-producing species.

  • For years, FDA and the animal feed industry have grappled with how to address concerns about the use of medically important antibiotics to promote growth or feed efficiency in food-producing animals.  In 2013, FDA asked animal pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily revise the FDA-approved conditions of use on antibiotic labels to remove production indications.  Earlier this year, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced a bill that would require FDA to withdraw its approval of medically important antibiotics that are at a high risk of abuse in food-producing animals.
  • On May 19, 2015, FDA proposed a rule to require animal drug sponsors of all antimicrobials sold or distributed for use in food-producing animals to obtain and provide estimates of sales by major food-producing species (cattle, swine, chickens, and turkeys).  FDA hopes that collecting these additional data will improve general understanding of the use of this product class among major food-producing animals and help the Agency target its efforts to ensure judicious use of medically important antibiotics.
  • Reacting to FDA’s proposal, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) reintroduced a bill that also would require reporting of the reason for animal antimicrobial use.  Many question the relative strengths of different approaches to reducing the use of medically important antibiotics in food production.  It remains to be seen whether the most effective strategies will come from voluntary industry initiatives, FDA efforts, legislative action, or a combination of these tools.