USDA to Undertake Study on Antimicrobial Use in Pork Operations
The USDA Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan, released in 2015, recommended that USDA agencies perform enhanced monitoring of antimicrobial use in food-producing animals. In addition, as our readership is well aware, beginning on January 1, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiated policy changes regarding the use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals. These changes include: (1) Eliminating the use of medically important antimicrobials for growth promotion purposes in food-producing animals, and (2) Requiring veterinary oversight for use of medically important antimicrobials in animal feed or water.
Next month, USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), along with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will begin a four-month study concerning how antimicrobials are used in U.S. swine operations. The study will focus on antimicrobial use and stewardship practices on swine nursery and grower-finisher facilities with a capacity of at least 1,000 head. Goals of the study include:
Describe antimicrobial-use practices in feed and water on production sites with a capacity of at least 1,000 weaned market pigs.
Estimate the percentage of production sites using and the percentage of weaned market pigs receiving specific antimicrobials in feed and/or water by reasons for use.
Provide baseline data on antimicrobial-use practices in place before implementation of FDA policy changes. This baseline can be used for evaluating trends over time.
Describe antimicrobial stewardship practices on production sites with weaned market pigs.
It remains to be seen what impact the results of this study may have on how, and to what extent, antimicrobials are used in U.S. swine operations. We will be sure to keep a close eye on any developments in this regard and report them to you here.