Keep up the pub­lic pres­sure

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

The Aug. 8 ed­i­to­rial “Sav­ing an­tibi­otics for the fu­ture” gave the un­der­dis­cussed is­sue of an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance the at­ten­tion it de­serves. As the only mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gist in Congress, I have been sound­ing the alarm on this for years, in­tro­duc­ing the Preser­va­tion of An­tibi­otics for Med­i­cal Treat­ment Act in the past six Con­gresses. This bill would save eight crit­i­cal classes of an­tibi­otics from be­ing fed daily to healthy an­i­mals and re­serve them only for sick hu­mans and sick an­i­mals.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion and its tooth­less poli­cies de­serve some of the blame for the sky­rock­et­ing mis­use of life­sav­ing an­tibi­otics. It has been miss­ing in ac­tion as this pub­lic-health cri­sis es­ca­lated. Con­sumers have driven ac­tion on this is­sue by de­mand­ing an­tibi­otic-free chicken from pro­duc­ers and restau­rants alike. Com­pa­nies such as McDon­ald’s and Costco, and in­sti­tu­tions such as the Uni­ver­sity of Rochester have taken ac­tion. It’s a re­minder that con­sumers’ de­mands can bring im­me­di­ate and mean­ing­ful change.

Louise M. Slaugh­ter, Wash­ing­ton The writer, a Demo­crat, rep­re­sents New York’s

25th Con­gres­sional District in the House.

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