Antibiotic Resistance in 2020: Fight Fiction with Facts

A recent 60 Minutes report took aim at antibiotic use in livestock and swipes at the pork industry. Here’s a compilation of resources to fight back. ( Jevtic )

In a recent episode of 60 Minutes, antibiotic use in the livestock industry, and pork producers in particular, were cast in a harsh light. NPPC and others cited problems with that reporting. The editors of Farm Journal’s PORK and Bovine Veterinarian pulled together resources, including the current state of antibiotic use, to help you educate consumers about antibiotic use in all sectors of the livestock industry.

As we enter a new year and a new decade, antibiotic stewardship remains on the top of issues affecting food-animal veterinarians. Continued public pressure, along with regulatory actions, will drive ongoing change, with more emphasis on preventive care and more veterinarian oversight of antibiotic use.

In September 2019, FDA released draft guidance for industry (GFI) 263, outlining a process for bringing remaining approved animal drugs containing antimicrobials of human medical importance under the oversight of licensed veterinarians, changing the approved marketing status from over-the-counter (OTC) to prescription (Rx). This would include dosage forms such as injectable or intra-mammary antibiotic products now available OTC. 

The action builds on the earlier GFI 213, which eliminated performance claims from labels for medically important antibiotics and brought purchase of most medicated feeds under the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD).  

Also, by September 2020, FDA plans to issue a draft strategy to ensure that all medically important antimicrobial drugs used in the feed or drinking water of food-producing animals have an appropriately targeted duration of use.   

Several recent reports have shown the livestock industry has made progress toward continuous improvement in antimicrobial stewardship. Nevertheless, activists and consumers will continue to apply pressure for more regulations, and for retail-driven standards beyond those imposed by government. Looking ahead, we’ll need to practice and publicize efforts to improve antibiotic stewardship while protecting animal health, welfare, food safety and producer profitability.

Antimicrobial Resistance: Building a Better Mousetrap

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”

When it comes to the complex challenges surrounding antimicrobial resistance (AMR), researchers say that many solutions to this expanding problem have been proposed, researched, developed, deployed and often, discarded. The pursuit of a better mousetrap continues.

FDA Antibiotic Report is No Surprise to Pork Industry

A significant decline in the usage of medically important antibiotics in food production came as no surprise Tuesday in the Food and Drug Administration’s report, says Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council.

Sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobials intended for use in food-producing animals dropped 33% between 2016 and 2017, and a 43% decline since 2015, the peak year for usage. 

U.S. Pork Industry Ends 2018 with Major Antibiotic Progress

America’s 60,000 pig farmers and their veterinarians are ending 2018 with recognition of their diligence to use medically important antibiotics in a strictly responsible way. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s newly published Annual Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals cites 2017 data that shows a 33% decline in this most critical class of antibiotics intended for use in food animals. When added to the decline found in the 2016 data, it confirms a reduction of 43% in this class of antibiotics from the 2015 level.

Antimicrobial Resistance: Hospitals, Farms Share More Than You Think

What do hospitals and pig farms have in common? More than you think, says Bill Pomputius, pediatric infection disease consultant at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

“We share a lot of bugs and resistance genes, but we also may share a lot of solutions,” Pomputius says. 

Antibiotic exposure is an inescapable web, making antibiotic resistance a reality we can’t avoid. About 175,000 tons of antimicrobials are produced globally each year, he says. 

“Our use of antibiotics accelerates the pace at which antibiotic resistance emerges and spreads in bacteria through both evolution and selective pressure,” Pomputius says.

U.S. Pig Farmers Embrace Responsible Antibiotic Use Every Day

America’s 60,000 pig farmers are dedicated to raising healthy animals to ensure a safe food supply. Today, that commitment means placing a high priority on using antibiotics responsibly for the health of people, pigs and the planet. As this year’s U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and World Antibiotic Awareness Week, Nov. 18-24, gets underway, America’s pig farmers want to highlight their ongoing efforts to achieve excellent antibiotic stewardship and their determination to always seek improvement.

“Using antibiotics responsibly is something that pig farmers are doing every single day,” said David Newman, a pig farmer from Arkansas and the National Pork Board president. “Antibiotic Awareness Week is a good time to reinforce this stewardship by reviewing herd-health plans and the best practices found in the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) certification program. It’s also a good time to involve all animal caretakers and continue to raise their awareness about the role they play in responsible antibiotic use.”

Veterinarians Key in Antimicrobial Stewardship in U.S. Swine Sites

A new USDA report provides the nation’s first in-depth look at antimicrobial use and stewardship practices on U.S. swine sites.

The USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System’s (NAHMS) Antimicrobial Use and Stewardship on U.S. Swine Operations 2017 study collected information about antimicrobial use and stewardship practices on U.S. swine sites from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2016—before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented antimicrobial use policy changes on Jan. 1, 2017. 

These FDA changes eliminated the use of medically important antimicrobials for growth promotion purposes in food animals and required veterinary oversight for the use of medically important antimicrobials in animal feed or water. 

Prepare for More Antibiotic Rules

Market forces and regulatory actions will drive emphasis on disease prevention and antibiotic stewardship.

Antimicrobial Sales Post Moderate Increase in 2018

FDA’s annual summary report on antimicrobial sales for use in food animals shows a small year-over-year increase in 2018, but the total remains well below pre-VFD levels.

NARMS Releases Latest Report on Antimicrobial Resistance Trends

This week, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) released its 2016-2017 NARMS Integrated Summary.

Good and Bad News in CDC’s 2019 Antibiotic Resistance Threats Report

U.S. fatalities associated with antibiotic-resistant pathogens have declined, but threats remain as resistance emerges in previously susceptible organisms.

Princeton Study: Antibiotic Resistance Increasing Globally

According to an analysis published in the journal Science, antibiotic resistance among bacteria affecting food animals has nearly tripled over the past 20 years.

FDA Funds Duration of Use Studies

The FDA has awarded two $250,000 grants to fund research projects in fiscal year 2019 to help target and define durations of use for certain medically important antimicrobial drugs administered in animal feed.

FDA Releases Draft GFI to End OTC Sales of Most Animal Antibiotics

The proposal would bring remaining approved over-the-counter medically important antimicrobial drugs used for animals under veterinary oversight.

FDA Reports on VFD Compliance

On August 29, FDA released its first report on inspection and compliance activities.

New FDA Guidance Clarifies Labeling for Drugs Used in Feed

The FDA has issued a new Guidance for Industry (GFI #181), which provides content and format regulations for the representative “Blue Bird” labeling to be used for Type B and Type C medicated feeds.