DES MOINES, Iowa — As pork producers brace for the Jan. 1, 2017, implementation of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Feed Directive Rule and Guidelines 209 and 213, which will increase regulatory oversight and further restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock, the National Pork Board (NPB) is touting its continued commitment to leadership and educational efforts related to the issue and how it will impact its members.
The rules will prohibit the use of antibiotics that are medically important, for the purpose of growth promotion while requiring veterinarian oversight of antimicrobials that are regarded as medically important and limit the use to cases that require them for animal health reasons.
The NPB issued a Sept. 20 statement iterating its stance on the responsible use of antibiotics during the pork production process and its investment of $6 million toward researching the topic since 2000 as part of its stewardship program. This year, the association has focused on research promotion, educating farmers and outreach to consumers and influencers, including those in the retail and foodservice sectors.
According to Jan Archer, NPB president, today’s producers understand and appreciate the specific role and benefits of antibiotics in raising their animals, and the feedback producer-members have received from all segments of the food-supply chain has been valuable in transforming the mindset of the industry.
“Real, substantive change is underway on pig farms across America with the farmers themselves shaping the discussion around responsible antibiotic use,” Archer said.
“We have been listening closely to the many audiences touched by food production,” Archer said. “From retail grocery chains to the foodservice industry, and from consumers to those influencers who define food production policy, we completely understand the important role pig farmers play in delivering safe food. We are committed to defining the ideal balance of the right medicine, in the right dose, at the right time for our pigs.”
NPB officials also said the success of the campaign to more responsibly use antibiotics requires cooperation between producers and veterinarians. The industry is prepared to comply and is in agreement with the ambitious goals of the regulatory efforts to expand control of antibiotics, according to Bill Even, NPB’s CEO.
“America’s pig farmers embrace the new FDA rules which truly change the long-standing practices of our industry,” Even said. “Pig farmers are committed to a process of continuous improvement in a number of areas, especially regarding responsible antibiotic use. One key element of that commitment is strengthening the relationships farmers have with their veterinarians.”
NPB has published compliance guidelines for producers at the Antibiotics Resource Center (www.pork.org/antibiotics).