Agencies focus on antimicrobials at Hill hearing

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – The importance of using antimicrobial drugs judiciously and details on the efforts currently underway to combat antimicrobial resistance were stressed this week in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) and Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.), according to the American Meat Institute (A.M.I.).

“Addressing antimicrobial resistance is a challenging task which requires the expertise and efforts of many entities,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., principal deputy commissioner, F.D.A. “F.D.A. will continue to work with federal, state, local, and foreign government officials, medical professionals including the veterinary community, the regulated industry and all of F.D.A.'s stakeholders, in developing sound strategies to address and advance both human and animal health.”

Mr. Sharfstein added that in addition to addressing antimicrobial resistance with surveillance through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (N.A.R.M.S.), the F.D.A. has released a draft guidance titled "The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals.” This guidance is intended to help minimize antimicrobial resistance by outlining several broad principles for assuring medically important antimicrobial drugs are used judiciously in animal agriculture.

John Clifford, DVM, U.S.D.A. Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services, testified the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (A.P.H.I.S.) is playing an active role in preserving the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics. And in addition to ongoing research, it is committed to identifying opportunities to reduce usage and maintain the effectiveness of these drugs — whether through the development of new treatment options for animals, such as vaccines, or through outreach and education to this country's agricultural producers so that they have better information on antibiotic use.

"U.S.D.A. believes that decisions regarding the issue of antibiotic use must be science-based and is interested in providing the most current scientific information when it can, and collaborate with H.H.S.' C.D.C., F.D.A., National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.) and other federal agencies on this important issue," Mr. Clifford said.

To read the written testimonies of these officials and others testifying at this hearing, visit http://energycommerce.house.gov/.
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