A lack of knowledge of the new Food and Drug Administration requirements on the use of antimicrobial drugs in food animals and access to veterinary services are two barriers to successful implementation of the FDA rules, a Farm Foundation, NFP, report released today found.
The report, Stewardship of Antimicrobial Drug Use in Food-Producing Animals, was released at the national summit, Antibiotic Stewardship: Policy, Education and Economics, which continues through Thursday in Washington, D.C.
“Successful implementation of these policies is critical to public and animal health, ensuring consumer confidence in food safety and the future viability of animal agriculture in the United States,” said Joe Swedberg, Farm Foundation trustee who chairs the Project Advisory Committee.
FDA has issued Guidance for Industry regarding the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals, as well as a revised Veterinary Feed Directive rule. As a result, some drugs will see label changes that only allow therapeutic uses and the use of the drugs in feed or water will require a veterinarian’s prescription or administration by a veterinarian.
The policies take full effect the end of 2016 and Swedberg said much educational work must be done to reach all segments of the industry.
“Through the workshops and survey, it was evident that some veterinarians and producers – especially those with smaller operations – are not fully aware of the production practice adjustments needed,” he said.
The new policies require livestock producers to maintain a Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship with a veterinarian. But in some areas there is a shortage of veterinarians who treat food animals.
The report cites a need for state and federal officials to work with colleges of veterinary medicine and professional veterinary organizations to develop options for small producers in underserved areas.
Producers raising small ruminants are particularly challenged because few pharmaceutical products are approved for use in these species.
“FDA and the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, along with industry groups, need to seek solutions to these challenges,” said Neil Conklin, Foundation president.
Between August and October 2015, Farm Foundation hosted 12 workshops across the country for veterinarians, feed suppliers and livestock producers to learn about the new policies. An online survey was also conducted.
Farm Foundation, NFP, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that brings industry leaders together to examine evolving issues that will shape the future of agriculture, food systems and rural communities. It was founded in 1933.
Source: Farm Foundation, NFP