The National Pork Board joined with Atlantic LIVE recently to bring together experts to discuss the challenge of responsible antibiotic use in the 21st century. At the event, leading stakeholders – from farmers to physicians – shared what is being done to address concerns of antibiotic resistance, which the U.S. pork industry is doing by continuously improving on-farm practices.
“Antibiotics are a critical tool to treat and prevent disease in both humans and animals,” said John Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Pork Board. “The U.S. pork industry is committed to ensuring responsible use of these medicines in animals to protect their efficacy for both humans and animals. Through a science-based approach, we must all work together to better understand and address the potential impact of antibiotic resistance.”
Responsible use of antibiotics is necessary on farms both to keep animals healthy and the food supply safe. For that reason, the industry supports pig farmers in several ways:
- Farmers work closely with their veterinarians to protect their pigs’ health and reduce the need to use antibiotics.
- The pork industry funds research on antibiotics resistance to ensure that it continues to improve the use of these medicines on the farm. The goal is to protect the long-term effectiveness of antibiotics in both humans and animals.
- The pork industry works closely with human and animal health experts to define and guide responsible antibiotic use.
- Farmers keep detailed records of all medicines they use in raising and caring for pigs.
“Without the timely use of antibiotics, sickness can spread rapidly, both endangering the health of animals and the safety of our food,” said South Dakota pig farmer Brad Greenway. “Through the pork industry’s stewardship and new FDA rules, real change is underway on the farm. America’s pig farmers embrace these new rules and want to share our commitment to responsibly treating and preventing disease in livestock.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the use of antibiotic products in pigs and other livestock. New regulations by the FDA (Guidance 209 and 213) will be fully enacted in January 2017 and will eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics on the farm for growth promotion. Many farmers have already taken this step. These new FDA regulations also strengthen the rules requiring licensed veterinarians to oversee the use of antibiotics on the farm for prevention, control and treatment of disease. The pork industry has been working the past 18 months to help farmers prepare for these new FDA guidelines.
“We are all in this together, and pork producers need to be part of the dialogue,” said Jan Archer, vice president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Goldsboro, N.C. “The U.S. pork industry is working every day to ensure farmers are equipped with the information and resources they need to use antibiotics responsibly. Responsible antibiotic use – as much as necessary, but as little as possible – is the only way to ensure safe food and healthy people and animals.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service also monitors and tests meat to ensure its safety before entering the food supply. These inspections and safeguards throughout the food chain ensure that antibiotics used in pork production promote both good health in animals and a safe food supply for humans.
The discussion of responsible featured comments and engaging discussion from experts ranging from the National Pork Board, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Veterinary Medical Association and representatives from across the food chain.
To learn more about the Pork Industry’s antibiotics stewardship priorities, visit www.porkcares.org/antibiotics.