SB-27: Limiting Use of Antibiotics

Session: 2015-2016
Author: Hill
Status: Signed into Law (Chaptered)
AAP-CA Position: Support
To view the status of this bill on the State Website, click here.

SB 27 (Hill), as amended on September 10, 2015,  would prohibit the regular use of antibiotics on livestock unless it is needed to treat sick animals, for medical procedures, or to control disease outbreaks.

SB 27 (Hill) Antibiotics Letter to Governor

AAP Positional Letter

September 30, 2015

Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: SB 27(Hill)

Dear Governor Brown:

The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 board-certified California primary care and subspecialty pediatricians statewide, supports SB 27 (Hill), as amended on September 10, 2015. In its current form, SB 27 (Hill) would prohibit the regular use of antibiotics on livestock unless it is needed to treat sick animals, for medical procedures, or to control disease outbreaks.

Antibiotics administered routinely to entire herds or flocks of animals at lower-than-therapeutic levels in their feed or water is more likely to promote antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is a public health issue of grave concern. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a report about the threat of antibiotic resistance in the U.S., stating that “[a]ntimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats.”

Antibiotics play an indispensable role in maternal and child health. Both a pregnant woman and her fetus are uniquely susceptible to certain infections, and antibiotics can be critical to maintaining their good health. For example, antibiotics are routinely administered to pregnant women exhibiting group B strep colonization just before delivery to prevent transmission to the newborn. In addition, fewer antibiotics are considered safe for children’s use due to their unique metabolism, making it even more critical that the existing “child-safe” antibiotics be kept effective for as long as possible.

Without urgent action to curb unnecessary antibiotic use, experts warn of a return to a “pre-antibiotic” era, where medical procedures we now take for granted cannot be undertaken because they rely on the availability of effective antibiotics. Growing resistance also puts complicated medical procedures such as C-sections, organ transplants, and cancer chemotherapy in jeopardy, all of which greatly impact children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Non-Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Animal Agricultural: Implications for Pediatrics states the following:

“Resistance to antimicrobial agents is an increasing and serious problem. Judicious use of antimicrobial agents in humans will address only approximately 50% of use and will be insufficient to curb the accelerating upward trend in resistance. The largest nonhuman use of antimicrobial agents is in food-animal production, and most of this is in healthy animals to increase growth or prevent diseases. Evidence now exists that these uses of antimicrobial agents in food-producing animals have a direct negative impact on human health and multiple impacts on the selection and dissemination of resistance genes in animals and the environment. Children are at increased risk of acquiring many of these infections with resistant bacteria and are at great risk of severe complications if they become infected. Improved surveillance and continued documentation will elucidate the magnitude of the impact that these uses have on public health in general and children’s health in particular.” (2004)

SB 27 (Hill) intends to address this serious public health problem in accordance with national AAP policy. Therefore, AAP-CA respectfully urges you to sign SB 27 (Hill).  We thank you for your leadership on behalf of children and families across California.


Kris Sig

Kris Calvin
Chief Executive Officer
American Academy of Pediatrics, California