Professor Price Presents on Antibiotic Resistance at Capitol Hill Briefing

Leading public health researchers and trade experts convened in Washington, DC on May 30, 2014 to address the spread of antibiotic resistance, the role of food animal production and the consequences of using the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) to weaken existing standards to facilitate trade. Lance Price, PhD, professor of environmental and occupational health at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University was one of the experts featured at the briefing, which was sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in cooperation with Rep. Louise Slaughter. According to Price’s research, antibiotic use in food animal production plays a significant role in the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In the United States, 80 percent of antibiotics sold are used in food animal production. Despite decades of scientific evidence linking such use to antibiotic resistance, little has been done to reduce the use of antibiotics in US animal agriculture, Price said at the briefing.

While the European Union maintains tougher standards, current inconsistencies are cause for great concern during T-TIP negotiations, according to experts at the briefing. The T-TIP aims to harmonize regulations between the two markets and remove non-tariff barriers to trade. Experts suggest, if not properly addressed, the negotiations could lower European Union antibiotic use standards simply to facilitate trade with the US--putting both sides of the Atlantic at risk.