Finding alternatives to antibiotics is a growing challenge for the animal agriculture industry as studies show antimicrobial resistance will lead to millions of human deaths and substantial economic losses.
Perry Goldshein, applied sustainability manager, North America, BASF Nutrition and Health Division, addressed the topic of antibiotics in animal agriculture and a potential link to antimicrobial resistance during the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit, held January 30 in conjunction with the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
According to Goldschein, about 70 percent of antibiotics that are used in the United States are used for animal production purposes. Because of that, people often link antibiotics in animal agriculture with antimicrobial resistance.
Goldschein pointed to a study that was conducted for the European Union (EU). That study estimated that the economic impact of antimicrobial resistance could be as high as $6 trillion (cumulative) over the next four decades. Another study, Goldschein said, showed that as many as 10 million people could die annually as a result of problems from antimicrobial resistance.
“It’s a big and emotional issue,” said Goldschein. “Consumers are increasingly aware of that, and that’s part of why antibiotics is a big issue for them.”
Goldschein told IPPE attendees that about 40 percent of meat and poultry consumers would like to have more antibiotic-free meat and poultry choices, but the animal and meat producers often feel hamstrung by a lack of affordable antibiotic alternatives. Goldschein noted that most BASF customers perceive that there is a widespread industry need for antibiotic alternatives. He sees organic acids and enzymes as possibilities.
The Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit featured speakers from multiple species. Representatives from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Board, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and the University of Arkansas also presented at the summit.
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