A few days ago, the Food and Drug Administration released two important documents related to antibiotic use in livestock raising, and what the results of that antibiotic use are. I’d say that they released them quietly, except, when it comes to this issue, every release seems to be quiet, never accompanied by the press releases or briefings that other divisions of the FDA use to publicize their news.
The two documents are the 2011 Retail Meat Report from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, or NARMS, and the 2011 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals, which is known for short as ADUFA, after the 2008 Animal Drug User Fee Act which mandated the data be collected.
These two reports capture almost all the data we receive from the federal government about antibiotic use in livestock production (which is not the same thing as “all the data the federal government possesses” — there is evidence they receive more than they release). So their annual release is an important indicator for whether antibiotic use in meat production, and antibiotic resistance in meat, are trending up or down.