Food Safety Magazine

News | March 16, 2016

Walmart, McDonald’s and Other Food Companies Urge Congress to Fund National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

By Staff

Walmart, McDonald’s and Other Food Companies Urge Congress to Fund National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested $5.1 billion from President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget. Today, Pew Charitable Trusts, Infectious Diseases Society of America and a host of other food companies sent a letter to Congress, urging House and Senate members to “include funding in the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to support the Administration’s implementation of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and at the Department of Agriculture (USDA).”

Besides the aforementioned, the letter is also signed by the following food companies and retailers: Applegate, Bon Appetit Management Company, Cargill, Inc., Costco Wholesale, Hormel Foods, McDonald’s USA, LLC, Tyson Food, Inc. and Walmart Stores, Inc. The letter is addressed specifically to four House and Senate Appropriators:

The Honorable Jerry Moran, Chairman, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations (R-KS)

The Honorable Jeff Merkley, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations (D-OR)

The Honorable Robert Aderholt, Chairman, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations Committee on Appropriations (R-AL)

The Honorable Sam Farr, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Committee on Appropriations Committee (D-CA)

Originally, the fiscal year 2017 budget called for $42 million of FDA funding for all Combating Antibiotic-Resistance Bacteria priorities. For the past 4 years, the agency has worked to advance policies and laws that support reasonable use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. The FDA’s new request will fund the collection of additional data under Section 105 of the Animal Drug User Fee Act, with the ultimate goal of improving understanding of the use and distribution of antibiotics in major food-producing species while helping the FDA to reinforce producer efforts to ensure more sensible use of medically important antibiotics. Finally, if the FDA can secure this new use of funds, it will also support the agency’s collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in combining each organization’s data set related to the use of antibiotics.

In terms of the USDA, the fiscal year 2017 budget asked for $61 million for antimicrobial resistance research, including a $10 million increase in funds for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The USDA funding would allow the department to support research to enhance understanding of the development of antimicrobial resistance and the spread of resistance genes in animals and humans. Funding would also support expanded dissemination of science-based knowledge to veterinarians and producers, and use of voluntary surveys to measure antibiotic use in animal agriculture.

A formal congressional response to the letter requesting support of antimicrobial resistance funding is pending.

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