Last week, the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB) published a draft report on antimicrobial resistance, which it said is “one of the most serious problems facing our national and global health”.
The 40-page report defined a series of action steps needed to curb the threat. Reacting to the report, the National Pork Board has said it, too, has a defined antibiotic stewardship plan focused on research, pig farmer education and outreach to pork industry partners and consumers.
“Antibiotics are essential tools for veterinarians and farmers in raising healthy livestock and producing safe food,” said John Johnson, the National Pork Board’s chief operating officer. “We are pleased to see the administration acknowledge the very real changes occurring on farms across America in accordance with new federal guidance.”
Millions spent to study antibiotic resistance
Some of the new guidelines proposed in the PACCARB report, which was published on 31 March, includes the need to improve intelligence gathering. Another measure is to bring the use of crucial antibiotic medication under the direct supervision of veterinarians and to be used only when absolutely necessary to protect animal health.
“Pig farmers have embraced the new guidelines and are actively implementing them across the country,” Johnson added. “Strengthening veterinarian relationships, requiring a prescription or veterinary feed directive for the use of medically important antibiotics in water and feed, and prohibiting use of medically important antibiotics for anything other than treatment, control and disease prevention are major steps forward.”
In the last 16 years, the National Pork Board has invested over $6 million to research and collect data on antimicrobial resistance and ways to combat it. The body has said the pork industry’s research in the US is focused on priority areas of antibiotics. Alternative antibiotic technologies, the environmental fate of antibiotics and the potential development of bacterial resistance are all areas currently being examined, the National Pork Board claimed.