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article imageTop food companies urging funding to combat antibiotic resistance

By Karen Graham     Mar 19, 2016 in Health
A large number of the nation's top food companies and others sent a letter to Congress this week, urging lawmakers to include funding in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget for the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic- Resistant Bacteria.
The growth in antibiotic and antimicrobial resistant bacteria is one of the major problems facing health systems worldwide, wrote Tim Sandle in Digital Journal last month, reporting on the movement by European Union parliament members who sit on the Environment and Public Health Committee to curb the use of antibiotics and antimicrobials.
The abusive and often unwarranted use of antibiotics and antimicrobials is not just a European problem and never has been. It is worldwide and it affects every human on the planet. In many countries around the world, antibiotics are being used indiscriminately in farm animals raised for human consumption, increasing the numbers of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
To this end, according to Digital Journal, the Obama administration, in March 2015 released an ambitious and comprehensive plan that would slow the deadly growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria over the next five years. The plan called the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic- Resistant Bacteria, would not only include huge monetary investments but policy changes as well.
The president's original fiscal 2017 budget request included level funding of $42 million for the FDA for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB) priorities. The budget request also requested $61 million for antimicrobial resistance priorities at the USDA, including an increase of $10 million at the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The bottom line in the fight to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria involves money, lots of money. But it also takes reeducating the public, industrial farms and all the businesses in between. Perhaps this is one reason some of the country's leading businesses, like Wal-Mart, Costco, Cargill, McDonald's, Tyson Foods, and Hormel, as well as Pew Charitable Trusts and the Infectious Diseases Society of America sent the letter to Congress.
In part, the letter urges 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).”
A portion of the funds would also support the spread of science-based information to veterinarians and factory farm producers, and the use of voluntary surveys to measure antibiotic use in animal agriculture.
More about Antibiotic resistance, Funding, fda budget for 2017, Congress, dept of agriculture
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