By Elise Viebeck - 06/01/12 05:50 PM EDT
Slaughter, a microbiologist, is outspoken in her support for ending the use of certain drugs in animal feed because the practice worsens antibiotic-resistant infections in humans.
In March, a federal judge ordered the FDA to act on these concerns — a process regulators had started in 1977 but abandoned in December.
"The FDA has not issued a single statement since the issuance of the 1977 [notices] that undermines the original findings that the drugs have not been shown to be safe," wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz, according to Reuters.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine Bernadette Dunham appealed this decision May 21, according to a notice.
Antibiotic-resistant infections "kill more Americans than AIDS," Slaughter responded in a statement Friday.
"The FDA is tasked with protecting the health and well-being of the American people. So as far as I’m concerned, FDA’s decision to appeal ... is nothing short of a dereliction of duty," she said.
Katz's ruling would have forced the FDA to conduct hearings with drug companies on the safety of using certain drugs — penicillin and tetracyclines in particular — in livestock.
If the antibiotics were found to be unsafe, the FDA would have to bar them from the animal feed market.
The suit's plaintiffs are five nonprofit organizations, according to Food Safety News.
Slaughter is the author of H.R. 965, The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, which would prevent the overuse of seven classes of antibiotics.