Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose is introducing new measures and strengthening regulations to encourage prudent use of antibiotics used in animal agriculture, particularly involving those that are considered important in human medicine.
This effort is intended to help minimize the global emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance and to conserve the effectiveness of available antimicrobials. These actions will protect public health and food safety and align with other countries, the health minister said.
Health Canada has already worked with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out all growth promotion claims of medically-important antimicrobial drugs by December 2016. In addition, Health Canada plans to:
- Propose amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations to address personal use importation of veterinary drugs, and strengthen the control over the importation of veterinary active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs); and
- Continue to work with stakeholders to increase the appropriate veterinary oversight with respect to access to all medically-important antimicrobial drugs that are used in livestock drinking water and feeds. This measure will require further amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations and the Feeds Regulations.
These initiatives are part of the Canadian government’s recently released Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Use in Canada, which builds on the Federal Framework for Action announced in October 2014. The department will continue to engage partners and stakeholders while the proposed amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations are being developed and further actions on AMR are being implemented.
Chicken Farmers of Canada supports reduction of antibiotic use
The Canadian government’s move to limit antibiotic use has drawn the praise from poultry industry group Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC).
“Chicken Farmers of Canada supports the federal government in their objective of amending these regulations to ensure responsible antimicrobial stewardship,” said Dave Janzen, CFC chair. “The chicken industry is continuing to study all facets of antibiotic use in animal agriculture to ensure that responsible, appropriate, and safe use of antibiotics can continue while reduction methods are explored at all levels of the industry, and with stakeholders and government partners.”
CFC stated that it supports the responsible use of antimicrobials to maintain animal health, animal welfare and food safety and is pleased to partner with the federal government on these issues.