Stakeholder Groups Release Strategy for Antibiotic Stewardship in Food Animal Production
As previously covered on this blog, for years, FDA, USDA, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and stakeholder groups have grappled with how to address public health concerns about the use of antibiotics to promote growth or feed efficiency in food-producing animals. At the federal level in the US, FDA has outlined its strategy to phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for production purposes in FDA’s Guidance for Industry #213. Most recently, in a Statement from Commissioner Gottlieb, FDA announced its 2017 report on antimicrobials sold or distributed for use in food-producing animals. Among other findings, the report highlights a 33 percent decline between 2016 and 2017 in domestic sales of antimicrobials intended for use in food-producing animals.
In response to the continued issues surrounding antimicrobial resistance, the Pew Charitable Trusts and Farm Foundation, in partnership with organizations, such as McDonald’s Corporation, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Pork Board, etc., released a new framework for antibiotic stewardship on farms. The voluntary framework defines core components of antibiotic stewardship programs, which are based on veterinary guidance and partnership, disease prevention strategies, and optimal treatment approaches, as well as effective recordkeeping and a culture of continuous improvement. The framework is meant to apply across the animal supply chain. In an article accompanying the framework, Pew noted that the framework is modeled after the Centers for Disease Control’s history of brokering consensus around the core elements of successful antibiotic stewardship programs in healthcare settings.
Industry will have to adopt the principles outlined in the framework for the program to be effective. Pew notes that the “actionable framework will enable the full range of stakeholders to adopt and implement best practices as part of existing and future antibiotic stewardship programs.” We will continue to monitor whether this voluntary, industry-driven framework proves effective in reducing the use of antimicrobials in food animals.