U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have authored an August 17, 2015, letter expressing concern that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Defense have not yet responded to an executive order establishing a Presidential Advisory Council on Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. According to the letter, which claims that food animal production accounts for 75 percent of “medically important antibiotics sold each year,” the appointed agencies have failed to provide a formal response or approve nominations for advisory council members. In particular, the senators ask that the final council include at least three experts from outside the food industry.
“As noted in our December 2014 letter, representatives from industrial animal producers associations and the veterinary drug industry have publically voiced doubts about the need to reduce antibiotic use in animals and about the impact that the [Food and Drug Administration’s] policies will have on the amount of drugs used,” concludes the letter. “However, public health experts agree that the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture is a critical contributor to antibiotic resistance.”