Senate panel wants quick FDA action on drug-resistant diseases

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Gail Hansen, senior officer for the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, praised the bill's language. 

"We applaud the Senate for making this a priority," she said via e-mail. "The recent drug-resistant Salmonella outbreak that sickened 110 people and killed one shows that FDA action on antibiotics in food animal production is long overdue."

Five lawmakers — Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) — have signed on legislation to ban farmers from using seven classes of antibiotics critical for human health in food production except to treat sick animals. Such efforts face a tougher time in the Republican-controlled House, however, where health appropriations chairman Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) is leading the charge against tougher restrictions.