Statement of CSPI President Dr. Peter G. Lurie

Reducing the overuse of antibiotics in food-producing animals is essential if we’re to preserve the effectiveness of the drugs to treat illnesses in humans.

That’s why it’s encouraging that the 2016 data on domestic sales and distribution for medically important antibiotics just released by FDA show a 14 percent decrease from 2015, the first time there has been a decrease since data were first collected in 2009.  However, total sales remain 9 percent higher than they were in 2009.

The data also broke down sales by species for the first time, showing that most of the domestic use of medically important antibiotics is in cattle (43 percent) and swine (37 percent), with lower sales in chicken (6 percent) and turkey (9 percent), suggesting that beef and pork producers still have a long way to go.  Regulators and consumers should insist that the food industry pick up the pace. 

Dr. Lurie was the FDA lead on antimicrobial resistance until August 2017 and was involved in the production of the previous reports.