Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) reacted to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) report this week, calling the increases in certain types of drug resistance among bacteria found on retail meat and ground poultry “alarming.”

“We are standing on the brink of a public health catastrophe,” said Rep. Slaughter. “The threat of antibiotic-resistant disease is real, it is growing and those most at risk are our seniors and children. We can help stop this threat by drastically reducing the overuse of antibiotics in our food supply, and Congress should act swiftly to do so today.”

According to the statement put out by Slaughter’s office, more antibiotics are fed to food animals in North Carolina than are given to all Americans. “Thanks to this kind of misuse, antibiotic-resistant diseases now kill more Americans than HIV/AIDS,” reads the statement.

The press releases notes that according to NARMS, which is run by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health laboratories, fifty-one percent of bacteria found on ground turkey were resistant to ampicillin, which is “regularly used to illnesses such as such as ear infections, bladder infections, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and E. coli or salmonella infection.”

“In some cases, researchers found bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics,” the statement adds. “The report found that 50.3 percent of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found on ground turkey were resistant to three or more antibiotic classes. Interestingly, no bacteria were found to be resistant to vancomycin and linezolid , which are two antibiotics not used in food animal production.”

Rep. Slaughter is the author of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, legislation that would phase out medically important antibiotics from being used subtherapeutically.