FDA sued for withholding data on food animal antibiotics

December 10, 2012

According to Food Safety News, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to “withhold agency data regarding the sale of antibiotics for use in food animals” is unlawful, according to a lawsuit filed by the Government Accountability Project (GAP) Dec. 5.

Drug companies are required to report basic information about antibiotic sales to the FDA under the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). The data is supposed to help the agency track potential ties between usage and the increase in antibiotic resistance.

The FDA publicly releases a limited summary of ADUFA data each year, but withholds almost all of what companies report, according to GAP. This lawsuit comes after the FDA failed to respond “properly” to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by GAP. The group sought data concerning the amount of antibiotics sold for use in food animals in 2009, classified by animal type and dosage information.

GAP said they made the request in February 2011, and has “exhausted all other steps to get the information, short of litigation.” In the end, the FDA denied GAP’s request, claiming that the requested data is “confidential commercial information,” according to the group.

Food Safety News article