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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on antibiotic resistance issues that may stem from the use of antibiotics in agriculture, focusing on the: (1) use of antibiotics in agriculture and the implications of that use for human health; (2) federal roles and responsibilities for overseeing the use of antibiotics in agriculture; and (3) issues surrounding the debate over whether to further regulate or restrict the use of antibiotics in agriculture.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services In light of the emergence of antibiotic resistance in humans, questions about the extent that the agricultural use of antibiotics contributes to the human health burden, and the debate over whether further regulation or restriction of use in agriculture is needed, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services should develop a plan with specific goals, timeframes, and resources needed to evaluate the risks and benefits of the existing and future use of antibiotics in agriculture, including identifying any data gaps and research needs.
Closed - Implemented
FDA/HHS addressed the recommendation by the publication of the Public Health Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance, Part I.
Department of Agriculture In light of the emergence of antibiotic resistance in humans, questions about the extent that the agricultural use of antibiotics contributes to the human health burden, and the debate over whether further regulation or restriction of use in agriculture is needed, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services should develop a plan with specific goals, timeframes, and resources needed to evaluate the risks and benefits of the existing and future use of antibiotics in agriculture, including identifying any data gaps and research needs.
Closed - Implemented
USDA addressed the recommendation by the publication of the Public Health Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance, Part I.

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