WASHINGTON – Three US senators introduced legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration to report detailed information about the annual sales of antibiotics used in food animals. The bill also would give the agency a deadline to finalize policies that would eliminate the use of antibiotics as growth promotants in meat production.

US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins introduced the legislation on May 8. The bill would create a pilot program to examine new data sources on antibiotics used in food animals. FDA would be required to create a comprehensive data collection strategy based on those new data sources to increase data availability to the public. The Government Accountability Office would audit the FDA to determine if the data collection for antimicrobial resistance programs is effective in protecting public health.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a public health concern that needs to be adequately addressed,” said Sen. Gillibrand in a prepared statement. “Increased data collection, transparency, and accountability are part of a comprehensive solution that will help protect American citizens from drug resistant microbes, saving lives and tax dollars.”

Additionally, the bill would require FDA to finalize a set of policies aimed at eliminating the use of antibiotics as growth promotants. The deadline would be within 180 days of the bill's enactment.

“Our bill would not create any new reporting requirements for drug companies, feed mills, or farmers. It would only require the FDA to provide more transparency in reporting the antimicrobial data which is already being reported to it,” said Sen. Collins in a prepared statement.

In February, Rep. Henry Waxman, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member, and Rep. Louise Slaughter, Rules Committee Ranking Member, introduced HR 820 — or the Delivering Antimicrobial Transparency in Animals (DATA) Act. The DATA Act would require “large-scale” meat and poultry producers to give detailed information to the FDA regarding the type and amount of antibiotics given to their animals.