House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) will introduce the Delivering Antibiotic Transparency in Animals Act of 2012 (the DATA Act). DATA will require antimicrobial manufacturers to provide detailed information to FDA on the use of antibiotics in food animal production and will require reporting by feed mills on antimicrobial use in animal feeds.

As of October 19, the text of DATA was not available on the Library of Congress Thomas system. We will post the text of the bill when available. Our readers know that our policy is to post the text of bills as soon as available since our readers, regulatory food science professionals, do not rely upon secondary sources in general and, particularly, do not rely upon media stories written by non-lawyer, non-scientist journalists.

Please see our posts of June 22 and March 10, 2011 on Congresswoman Louis Slaughter’s (D-NY) proposed PAMTA (Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act). PAMTA was sponsored in the Senate by Diana Feinstein (D-CA). We note again, that Congresswoman Slaughter is the only Member of Congress with a degree in microbiology.

Public focus on antibiotic use in food animal production has been heightened recently by a widely discussed Consumer Reports document. Interested readers may wish to review:

Consumer Reports, Meat On Drugs: The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals and What Supermarkets and Consumers Can Do to Stop It

The Waxman Press Release is available on the Congressman's website.


Finally, we again remind our readers of the distinction, not usually observed in the news media, between antimicrobials and antibiotics:

Antimicrobial - an agent that kills microbes or inhibits their growth. *

Antibiotic - a chemical substance having the capacity, in dilute solution, to kill or inhibit growth of microorganisms. Antibiotics that are sufficiently nontoxic to the host are used as chemotherapeutic agents to treat infectious diseases. The term was originally restricted to substances produced by microorganisms, but has been extended to include synthetic and semisynthetic compounds of similar chemical activity. *

* Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 32nd Ed., Elsevier, 2011.