Pork Checkoff, part of the National Pork Board in the US, said a significant number of pork producers were ready for, and aware of, the changes to US law regarding antibiotic use. The changes include a ban on antibiotic use that encourages animal growth, as well as the appropriate use of feed-grade antibiotics to treat, control and prevent animal disease.
In a survey of 550 pork producers, 82% of those surveyed said they were aware of the upcoming regulatory changes regarding on-farm antibiotic use. A further 71% said they had a defined record-keeping system in place for antibiotic use.
Pork Checkoff said that out of the big pork producers, defined as those that go through 80,000 or more hogs per year, 83% said they had a solid system for recording the administration of antibiotics.
“This level of awareness underscores the real and substantive changes occurring today on how pig farmers use antibiotics on the farm,” said National Pork Board president Derrick Sleezer, in a statement last week. “The high level of awareness of the changing regulation is encouraging, but not surprising. The US pork industry is working hard to educate its pork producers about the upcoming deadline.”
In the last year-and-a-half, the National Pork Board said it had drawn up measures to keep pork producers informed on the details pertaining to the Food and Drug Administration guidance 209 and 213. This policy document stipulated the changes to on-farm antibiotic use already mentioned in this article – a ban on growth-inducing antibiotics, and the considerate use in treating disease.
The policy also encouraged farmers to establish what it called a “veterinarian-client-patient relationship”, as well calling for better record-keeping on-farm. The changes will come into effect on 1 January 2017.
The National Pork Board believes the American public are also aware the industry is changing for the right reasons.
“Consumers can have confidence that the US pork industry is doing the right thing in regard to antibiotic stewardship. Understanding the role responsible antibiotic use plays on a farm is one of our top priorities and why we introduced the US pork industry antibiotic stewardship plan in June,” added Sleezer.