Showing posts in November, 2015

National Institute of Animal Agriculture’s 2015 Antibiotics Stewardship: From Metrics to Management

New guidelines issued by the FDA – effective January 1, 2017 – require label changes removing the use of growth promotion claims on medically –important antimicrobial compounds and allowing companies to apply for prevention claims, as well as use for treatment and disease control, for those same compounds. There is also a call for increased veterinarian oversight for these drugs used in animal feed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistance-related infections kill 23,000 people and sicken millions each year.

Dr. Amanda Tank, Validus, recently attended the National Institute of Animal Agriculture’s 2015 Antibiotics Stewardship: From Metrics to Management which facilitated a discussion on metrics between veterinarians, public health officials, the livestock industry, scientists and others involved in food safety and food animal production. The purpose of the conference was to reach a consensus towards developing these metrics in order to keep agriculture moving forward successfully. Some key take-aways and discussions from that meeting:

• It isn’t just the animal sector that needs to improve, but also human medicine- Overall everyone needs to get better at how antibiotics are prescribed and used to truly make a difference.

• Thomas Chapel, Chief Evaluation Officer, CDC stated we need to think strategically about antibiotic resistance efforts-what to measure is more important than how to measure.

• Are veterinarians adequately prepared to fulfill the requirements? Are there enough vets to do this? (Vets are working hard to be prepared and are cognizant of their responsibility.)

• Building Consumer Trust: Several large food companies participated and commented:
1. “Having to answer to critics or engage in brand defense is a cost, and offers shareholders value only in what hazard you avoid.”
2. Some NGO’s are short-sighted when demanding agricultural reforms and are passionately ignorant of want is required to feed people.
3. A couple companies commented that they no longer clump all food animal issues under the animal welfare. They now have developed 4 key areas: animal well-being, sustainable practices, food security and food safety.

• Producers need to start now to be prepared to work with their vets regarding the new Veterinarian Feed Directive Guidelines.

• Producers need to understand the new regulations, strengthen their VCPR, communicate with their feed mill, reduce the need to use medically-important antibiotics, develop strategies to protect herd health and minimize the need for antibiotics, and evaluate models and metrics to assess antibiotic stewardship and use.