The National Pork Board has recently developed and released several campaigns to promote antibiotic stewardship in pork production. The Pork Checkoff recently defined its three-point antibiotic stewardship plan and has delivered on its pledge of promoting research, pig farmer education and consumer and influencer outreach throughout 2016.
“Real, substantive change is underway on pig farms across America with the farmers themselves shaping the discussion around responsible antibiotic use,” said Jan Archer, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from North Carolina. “We were the first food-animal industry to announce our stewardship plan, which underscores that antibiotics are essential tools for veterinarians and farmers to raise healthy livestock and to produce safe food.”
Today’s pig farmers stand ready to implement the upcoming U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Guidelines 209 and 213 and the Veterinary Feed Directive Rules, which will end the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion and bring the use of medically important antimicrobial medicines under the direct supervision of veterinarians.
“We have been listening closely to the many audiences touched by food production,” said Archer. “From retail grocery chains to the foodservice industry, and from consumers to those influencers who define food production policy, we completely understand the important role pig farmers play in delivering safe food. We are committed to defining the ideal balance of the right medicine, in the right dose, at the right time for our pigs.”
This year the U.S. pork industry has collaborated with federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and veterinary and farmer organizations to look for ways to continuously improve responsible antibiotic use.
The Don’t Wait… Be Ready! pig farmer awareness and education campaign was also created this year, and the pork industry has invested a total of $750,000 in five antibiotic-related research areas that will work to create a better understanding of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and work to define alternative antibiotic technologies.
“America’s pig farmers embrace the new FDA rules which truly change the long-standing practices of our industry,” said Bill Even, National Pork Board chief executive officer. “Pig farmers are committed to a process of continuous improvement in a number of areas, especially regarding responsible antibiotic use. One key element of that commitment is strengthening the relationships farmers have with their veterinarians.”
Materials outlining each of the pork industry’s efforts are available from the National Pork Board’s Antibiotics Resource Center, including ways producers should prepare for the expansion of the veterinary feed directive (VFD) and the elimination of growth promotion use of antibiotics deemed medically important to human health.