Hall Vet

Website highlights FDA policies updating standards for antibiotics used in food animals

Expanded Veterinary Feed Directives go into effect Jan. 1, and producers and veterinarians have yet another place to turn for more information on the changes they face.

Expanded Veterinary Feed Directives go into effect Jan. 1, and producers and veterinarians have yet another place to turn for more information on the changes they face.

Earlier this week, a number of agriculture groups — including the Animal Health Institute, National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Animal Agriculture Alliance — launched a new educational website, providing information about how the Food and Drug Administration’s new policy will change the way antibiotics are used to keep food animals healthy.

The new policy will stop the use of antibiotics similar to those used in humans for animal growth purposes. The policy also requires the supervision of a veterinarian when antibiotics that are used to treat people are also used to fight disease in animals.

“This policy ensures that the antibiotics classes we need as humans are only administered to food animals when medically necessary to fight disease,” says Alexander S. Mathews, president and CEO of the AHI. “Most importantly, the policy protects animal health and well-being while providing consumers with the safest food possible.”

Human and animal health experts agree that antibiotic resistance is a public health concern, which is why animal production practices include judicious use guidelines to ensure that antibiotics can be used to keep food animals healthy, while minimizing the chance of resistant bacteria impacting human health. Farmers, veterinarians and the companies that make medicines for animals have collaborated with the Food and Drug Administration to implement guidelines that maximize animal health and well-being, while providing consumers with the safest food possible.

“A licensed veterinarian on a farm is to animals what a physician is to humans,” says Richard Carnevale, vice president of regulatory, scientific and international affairs at the AHI. “Veterinarians provide a critical service by keeping farm animals healthy, thereby safeguarding human health. As a veterinarian, I hope the togetherABX effort will result in greater public understand of the role of veterinarians.”

The new website also will contain information about how farmers and veterinarians manage the use of antibiotics on farms and ranches.

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