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Antibiotics legislation hits setback
May 01, 2014, 05:00 AM By Samantha Weigel Daily Journal

Kevin Mullin

Jerry Hill

Discouraging the unnecessary overuse of antibiotics in livestock and protecting the public from resistant bacteria was a goal Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and state Sen. Jerry Hill wanted to tackle this year, however, their three-pronged approach was weakened Wednesday after one bill was withdrawn.

Mullin, D-South San Francisco, tabled his livestock antibiotics bill, saying he wanted to maintain its integrity yet didn’t have support.

“I think this is an important public health issue that needs to be addressed, but the votes were simply not there to move it forward this year,” Mullin wrote in a press release.

Hill, D-San Mateo, has two bills in the Senate regarding antibiotics, however, Mullin’s bill would have been the strictest.

Mullin’s Assembly Bill 1437 would have banned nontherapeutic use in livestock such as for weight-gain purposes. It also required data collection and allowed sick animals to be treated while still prohibiting regular low-dose applications.

His bill would have also barred the use of antibiotics that have been documented to threaten public health by increasing the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Both legislators cite growing research on how the widespread use of antibiotics in both farm animals and as prescribed in hospitals is rendering them less effective.

Nearly 80 percent of the nation’s antibiotic supply is used on livestock and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported every year more than 2 million Americans contract antibiotic-resistant infections and at least 23,000 die as a result.

In December, the Food and Drug Administration issued a request for pharmaceutical companies, livestock and poultry producers to stop using antibiotics to promote faster growth in animals, however, Mullin and Hill want to make it compulsory, as it was only a request.

In a press release, Mullin expressed concern about withdrawing his bill as even if the FDA’s recommendations became mandatory, antibiotics could still be administered in low doses, causing some bacteria to become resistant and eventually spread to consumers.

Hill’s legislative packet includes Senate Bill 835 that addresses the use in farm animals by codifying the FDA’s recommendations while forbidding growth enhancement marketing. It also requires veterinary prescription and oversight.

Thus far, the bill has been well received by the California Cattleman’s Association and unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Hill could take SB 835 to the Senate floor as early as Thursday, according to Hill’s office.

Hill also introduced Senate Bill 1311, co-authored by Mullin, which addresses overuse in people by requiring hospitals to have antimicrobial stewardship programs that generates awareness and dissuades the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

SB 1311 will be heard on the Senate floor Monday, March 5.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106



Tags: antibiotics, mullin, senate, livestock, animals, resistant,

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