Waxman to introduce bill to curb antibiotic use in livestock

The disclosure requirement for feed mills would be the first of its kind, according to Waxman's office.

"We need reliable information about the use of antibiotics in agricultural operations," Waxman, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.

"The more we learn, the graver the threat becomes from overuse of antibiotics by industrial-scale farms. We need this information so scientists and Congress can stop the spread of drug-resistant infections from farm animals to humans," Waxman continued.

The measure comes amid some criticism of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for "dereliction of duty" on antibiotic resistance, in the words of another House Democrat.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), a microbiologist and leading voice on the issue in Congress, slammed the FDA this summer after it appealed an order to ban three drugs in animal feed.

"I suppose it’s not much of a surprise," Slaughter said of the FDA in June. "They’ve buried their heads in the sand and ignored the threat of antibiotic resistance for well over 30 years. But avoiding this problem ... only increases the threat to our public health."

Slaughter is the author of a bill to prevent the overuse of seven classes of antibiotics in livestock feed.

Waxman announced his new bill Tuesday at a press conference in Santa Monica, Calif. He was joined at the event by chefs, medical experts and consumer advocates.