U.S. PIRG Statement on the Food and Drug Administration’s Preview of Plans to Reduce Antibiotic Use in Agriculture

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG


Today, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. released a statement previewing the agency’s 5-year plan to address antibiotic misuse in agriculture. While the plan includes some important objectives, including setting limits on how long medically-important antibiotics can be used in food-producing animals and increased data collection efforts, the agency will continue to allow the routine use of medically-important antibiotics to prevent disease — a practice the World Health Organization is pushing to end because it can breed drug-resistant bacteria.

In response, Matt Wellington, Antibiotics Program Director for U.S. PIRG, released the following statement:

“It’s disappointing that the FDA will continue to allow meat producers to routinely dose healthy animals with medically-important antibiotics. Any meaningful strategy to reduce antibiotic use and stem the spread of bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections should include an end to this practice.

“About a third of the products containing medically-important antibiotics approved for use in food-producing animals, via feed or water, can be used with no duration limit.That allows for continuous antibiotic use, which can breed drug-resistant bacteria. Although it’s important and encouraging that the FDA plans to address the problem, it should take much more aggressive steps than the voluntary approach previewed in their statement.”