Antibiotics use in agriculture subject of new website

by Erica Shaffer
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 Together ABX infographic
The website highlights new FDA standards for antibiotics used in food animals. 
 

WASHINGTON – A coalition of agriculture groups launched a new website aimed at educating consumers about changes to Food and Drug Administration policies that regulate the use of antibiotics in animals produced for food.

The website, www.togetherABX.com, provides information on the FDA’s new policies which go into effect Jan. 1, 2017. Under the new standards, a veterinarian must supervise the use of antibiotics that are used to treat humans when those medicines are used in animals to fight disease. Also, the policy will stop the use of antibiotics designed for humans from being used for animal growth purposes.

The new website also will provide information about how farmers and vets manage the use of antibiotics on farms and ranches.

Groups participating in the website launch include the Animal Health Institute (AHI), National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

“A licensed veterinarian on a farm is to animals what a physician is to humans,” Dr. Richard Carnevale, vice president of regulatory, scientific and international affairs at the AHI, said in a statement. “Veterinarians provide a critical service by keeping farm animals healthy, thereby safeguarding human health. As a veterinarian, I hope the togetherABX effort will result in greater public understanding of the role of veterinarians.”

The new policy is part of the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB), which aims to provide a comprehensive, science-based perspective on the use of antimicrobial drugs and antibiotic resistance in animal agriculture.

The new website covers a number of topics regarding how antibiotics are used to keep food animals healthy. Topics include:

• Medicine and antibiotic use on the farm

• Approval and regulation of antibiotics used in animals

• Labeling of animal antibiotics

• Benefits of antibiotics

• Risks of antibiotics

• FDA’s new policy on use of antibiotics

• Veterinarians and animal antibiotic use

• Volume and rate of antibiotic used in animals and humans

• Tracking and surveillance of antibiotic resistance

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