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Agricultural News

Farm Foundation Leads Initiative on Voluntary Phase Out of Antibiotic Use in Food Animals

Wed, 13 May 2015 11:48:07 CDT

Farm Foundation Leads Initiative on Voluntary Phase Out of Antibiotic Use in Food Animals Farm Foundation, NFP is leading a new initiative designed to support efforts by U.S. livestock producers and veterinarians to voluntarily phase out the use of medically-important antibiotics for food production purposes in food animals.

Many producers and businesses across the entire food and agricultural value chain have already taken action to reduce the use of medically important antibiotics in food animal production. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued two Guidance for Industry (GFI) documents related to the use of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals. FDA is also proposing amendments have also been proposed to the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Successful implementation of the practices is critical to public health, food prices and the future viability of animal agriculture in the United States.

"By the end of 2016, producers and veterinarians need to complete work to phase out the use of medically-important antimicrobial drugs to promote growth, as specified in recent the FDA guidances," explains Farm Foundation President Neil Conklin.

Over the next six months, Farm Foundation will convene 10 regional meetings with livestock producers and veterinarians across the country. The intent is to help producers and veterinarians gain a comprehensive understanding of the FDA GFIs, and help regulators understand the challenges of implementing these practices.

"The success of achieving this goal--for both public health and the economic health of animal agriculture--hinges on producers having access to the information they need to adjust production practices, and the capacity of veterinarians to provide the additional oversight needed," says Conklin.

FDA GFI 209 addresses "voluntary adoption of practices to ensure the appropriate or judicious use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals." Increased veterinary oversight on the use of antimicrobials is addressed in FDA's GFI 213. Most recently, FDA has proposed amendments to its Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) that would require producers to have veterinary approval for the use of medically-important antibiotics in feed.

"The clock is ticking on the phase-in period. As an organization respected for its objectivity, Farm Foundation is well positioned to quickly respond to this need and draw relevant and diverse stakeholder groups to the table for constructive discussions," Conklin said.

The Farm Foundation regional meetings will begin this summer at locations across the country. Feedback gained in these meetings will be used to compile a report assessing the economic and physical challenges farmers and ranchers will face in implementing FDA's GFIs. Informational and educational needs will also be evaluated, as well as the role of veterinarians in monitoring and managing antimicrobial use.

The Farm Foundation report will be the focus of summit to be convened by Farm Foundation in late fall 2015. This will be an opportunity for farmers, ranchers, academics and government agency staff to discuss options to address the issues identified in the regional meetings.

Click here to read the Veterinary Feed Directive.

Click here for the Guidance for Industry documents.



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