Group sues FDA over food animal antibiotics data
By Rita Jane Gabbett on 12/6/2012
The government watchdog group the Government Accountability Project (GAP) announced it has sued the FDA for withholding agency data regarding the sale of antibiotics for use in food animals.
Drug companies are required to report basic information about antibiotic sales to the FDA under the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). Such information includes how much of each drug is sold; whether the drugs are formulated for use in feed, water, or by injection; and the animals for which each drug is approved.
FDA publicly releases a summary of ADUFA data each year, but GAP charges it is illegal for it to withhold other details.
The lawsuit comes after FDA denied GAP’s Freedom of Information Act request seeking data concerning the amount of antibiotics sold for use in food animals in 2009, classified by animal type and dosage information. FDA determined that to be confidential commercial information.
The lawsuit is the latest in what has become a long, public battle about whether or not antibiotics are used in animal agriculture in a way that increases antibiotic resistant bacteria harmful to human health.
Some consumer groups, lawmakers and organic and natural food makers are advocating for less antibiotics use in farm animals. Supporting their use as an important part of raising healthy animals and nutritious food are poultry and meat industry associations and a number veterinarians and animal science professors.
FDA has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit, available for download here.