A number of agricultural groups — including the Animal Health Institute (AHI), National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. and Animal Agriculture Alliance — launched a new educational website, www.togetherABX.com, to provide information about how the Food & Drug Administration's new policy will change the way antibiotics are used to keep food animals healthy.
The new policy, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, will stop the use of antibiotics for animal growth purposes if those antibiotics are also used in human medicine. The policy requires the supervision of a veterinary medical doctor for use of antibiotics to fight disease in animals when those medicines are also used to treat people.
"This policy ensures that the antibiotics classes we need as humans are only administered to food animals when medically necessary to fight disease," AHI president and chief executive officer Alexander S. Mathews said. "Most importantly, the policy protects animal health and well-being while providing consumers with the safest food possible."
Human and animal health experts agree that antibiotic resistance is a public health concern, which is why animal production practices include judicious use guidelines to ensure that antibiotics can be used to keep food animals healthy while minimizing the chance of resistant bacteria affecting human health, AHI explained.
Farmers, veterinarians and companies that make medicines for animals have collaborated with FDA to implement guidelines that maximize animal health and well-being while ensuring food safety.
"A licensed veterinarian on a farm is to animals what a physician is to humans," said Dr. Richard Carnevale, vice president of regulatory, scientific and international affairs at AHI. "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 website also will contain information about how farmers and veterinary medical doctors manage the use of antibiotics on farms and ranches.
Visit the site at www.togetherABX.com.
AHI represents companies that manufacture animal health products — the pharmaceuticals, vaccines and feed additives used in modern food production and the medicines that keep pets healthy.