The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) says its first year of full implementation of the Antimicrobial Use and Stewardship Program (AUS) has ended with strong results.

SB-27 is the law that created the AUS, bringing all medically important antimicrobials used in livestock under veterinary oversight, prohibiting their use for growth-promotion and limiting their use for disease prevention, providing resources to veterinarians and livestock producers to implement antimicrobial stewardship plans, and initiating the collection of antimicrobial use information and monitoring of trends of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria. 

A mandated 2019 report recently delivered to the California Legislature describes how CDFA has developed strong relationships with federal, state, and academic partners to gather meaningful data that will help improve antimicrobial use decision-making and inform the development of antimicrobial stewardship guidelines for California’s diverse livestock industries and producers.

“California is paving the way to comprehensively understand current antimicrobial use and animal health in livestock,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.  “Using the information we’re developing, California’s veterinarians and livestock owners can identify the best ways to use antibiotics while preserving their effectiveness for human and veterinary medicine.”

CDFA has utilized voluntary participation in data-gathering efforts to engage livestock producers; create program buy-in; and ensure that stewardship materials are evidence-based, meaningful, and practical for California’s many different livestock industries. Using scientifically established methods as employed by other research groups including in a publication by the Pew Research Center, CDFA is confident that data gathered through AUS surveys accurately reflect the target population and provide sufficient information to evaluate trends and inform future program efforts.

Moving forward in 2019, the AUS program will focus on analyzing and reporting the results of initial data collection activities and developing scientifically valid resources for veterinarians and livestock owners as they promote antimicrobial stewardship while protecting animal health and well-being.