A giant mock porkchop with a syringe sticking out of it is placed in front of a food retailer during an awareness campaign by environmental organization Greenpeace to protest against the excessive use of antibiotics in livestock farming in Berlin on July 25. (John MacDougall/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

The Aug. 8 editorial “Saving antibiotics for the future” gave the underdiscussed issue of antibiotic resistance the attention it deserves. As the only microbiologist in Congress, I have been sounding the alarm on this for years, introducing the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act in the past six Congresses. This bill would save eight critical classes of antibiotics from being fed daily to healthy animals and reserve them only for sick humans and sick animals.

Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration and its toothless policies deserve some of the blame for the skyrocketing misuse of lifesaving antibiotics. It has been missing in action as this public-health crisis escalated. Consumers have driven action on this issue by demanding antibiotic-free chicken from producers and restaurants alike. Companies such as McDonald’s and Costco , and institutions such as the University of Rochester have taken action. It’s a reminder that consumers’ demands can bring immediate and meaningful change.

Louise M. Slaughter, Washington

The writer, a Democrat, represents New York’s
25th Congressional District in the House.