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FMC completes Cheminova acquisition

FMC completes Cheminova acquisition

FMC Corp. has completed the closing of its acquisition of Cheminova A/S, a multinational crop protection company based in Denmark and a wholly owned subsidiary of Auriga Industries A/S.

The companies announced the signing of a definitive acquisition agreement on Sept. 8, 2014, and have now satisfied all necessary conditions and regulatory approvals.

FMC completed the acquisition of Cheminova for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $1.8 billion, including assumption of debt. FMC expects the transaction to be accretive to adjusted earnings in the first full year following the acquisition.

FMC president, chief executive officer and chairman Pierre Brondeau said the transaction will broaden FMC's Agricultural Solutions portfolio and significantly strengthen its market access.

"Cheminova gives us direct market access to key countries in Europe and enhances our customer reach in India, Australia and throughout Latin America, bringing greater balance to our agricultural business," he said. "Its technology will enable us to expand FMC's position in existing crops, accelerate access to additional crops such as cereals and strengthen our offerings to customers, especially in sugarcane, soybeans and cotton."

FMC has been realigning its business portfolio in recent years to expand its position in the crop protection market. With the acquisition of Cheminova and the divestiture of the Alkali Chemicals business completed on April 1, FMC Agricultural Solutions is expected to represent approximately three-quarters of the company's total revenue, up from less than 40% as recently as 2009.

Volume:87 Issue:16

In 60 seconds: 4/27/15

In 60 seconds: 4/27/15

Feedstuffs to host canola meal webinar: On May 5 at 2 p.m. (EDT), Feedstuffs will host a webinar on "Optimizing Canola Meal Usage in Swine & Poultry Diets." Respected University of Alberta animal researchers Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra and Dr. Eduardo Beltranena will share how recent research findings are creating new opportunities for feeding canola meal to swine and poultry. Canola meal has long been considered an appropriate feedstuff for monogastric species, but commercial diet formulation has often limited its inclusion in certain stages of production based on performance results seen in earlier literature. Zijlstra and Beltranena will outline how today's canola meal is an excellent source of amino acids and how diet formulation based on net energy allows for optimal canola meal inclusion. Zijlstra is a professor, and Beltranena is an adjunct professor in the department of agricultural, food and nutritional science at the University of Alberta. Register for the webinar at http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=974049&s=1&k=5E70B53CEBCC970994A731709A934497&partnerref=FSweb. For more information on canola meal use in animal diets, visit www.Canolamazing.com.

Feedstuffs, Elanco launch VFD Central: By 2017, the growth-promotion use of antibiotics approved for both humans and animals, as defined in U.S. Food & Drug Administration guidance documents #209 and #213, will no longer be allowed. To guide all segments of animal agriculture through these regulatory changes, Feedstuffs and Elanco Animal Health have partnered to create an online resource center: VFD Central. VFD Central is the source for veterinary feed directive (VFD) news, insights and updates for producers, veterinarians and feed suppliers. The site provides links to the official VFD rules and regulations being issued by FDA, as well as various guidance documents on responsible antibiotic use and the latest news from the editors of Feedstuffs and industry experts. In addition, Feedstuffs, in partnership with Elanco and the American Feed Industry Assn., will host several free, information-based webinars once the final VFD regulations are released. To be added to a list to receive information on these upcoming events, please email [email protected] and request to be put on the invite list. VFD Central is posted at http://feedstuffs.com/vfd.aspx.

Waterfowl mitigation webinar planned: As a further continuation of its Biosecurity Program offerings, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn. (USPOULTRY) will host a webinar addressing "ON-Farm Waterfowl Mitigation Practices" at 1:00-2:15 p.m. (EDT) on May 13. The webinar is free of charge to USPOULTRY members. The webinar will feature Shannon Chandler and Clint Turnage, both wildlife disease biologists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service's Wildlife Services. Both specialize in disease surveillance pertaining to avian influenza, along with other areas such as plaque and tularemia, feral swine diseases, chronic wasting disease, Escherichia coli, rabies, raccoon roundworm and canine parvovirus. The webinar will discuss how producers can reduce congregations of wild birds (mainly waterfowl) on farm premises and methods farmers can implement to help make their farms unattractive to wild birds. Participants will be able to submit questions throughout the webinar, which will be addressed during a question-and-answer period at the end of the program. All participants will receive a copy of the recorded program and a document containing important points from the webinar.

Vermont adopts GMO labeling law: Vermont is another step closer to implementing the nation's first law requiring the labeling of food produced with biotechnology. The final rule, issued by Vermont attorney general Bill Sorrell, provides the requirements for how the "Produced with Genetic Engineering" label should appear on processed foods, details exemptions from the labeling requirement and contains enforcement provisions for violations of the law. Labels on packages must state if the food was: "Produced with Genetic Engineering," "Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering" or "May be Produced with Genetic Engineering." The "partially produced" label can be used on items that contain less than 75% genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by weight. The rules do not apply to restaurant or carryout food, medical food, dietary supplements, certified organic food, alcohol, meat, food certified as non-GMO and food with minimal GMO content, meaning less than 0.9% of the total weight. Violators will be subject to a fine of $1,000 per day/per product, but this is not to be multiplied by the number of individual packages. The rule is set to take effect on July 1, 2016, which Sorrell said should give food manufacturers and retailers "ample time" to prepare for the law to take effect. The law is under challenge by a federal district judge who heard arguments in early January and has yet to rule on the case.

Volume:87 Issue:16

Hog market weights continue to increase

Hog market weights continue to increase

OVER the last 40 years, the weight of market pigs has gradually risen. In 1974-75, the weight for market pigs averaged 242 lb., and over time, pig market weights have increased by an average of 1 lb. per year. In 2011-12, the market weight of pigs averaged 275 lb.

In 2014, average market weights increased by nearly 10 lb. over those of 2012. For the most part, this was not a planned decision by the industry, Michigan State University (MSU) professor of swine genetics management Dr. Ron Bates and MSU extension educator Tom Guthrie recently noted.

During the first quarter of 2014, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) was introduced to the U.S. pork industry and caused devastating mortality among small piglets that resulted in an unexpected shortage of pigs being marketed. This event, coupled with lower feed prices, allowed farms the option of feeding their pigs longer before sending them to market, according to Bates and Guthrie. As a result, pigs could be marketed at heavier weights than normal.

"Farmers concluded that pigs were able to become heavier without getting overly fat, and feed efficiency was within acceptable parameters," they noted. "These improvements are due to decades of genetic improvement for decreased fat and improved feed efficiency."

Since pigs were able to remain leaner at heavier weights and economically convert feed to liveweight, pigs remained profitable to farmers when marketed at heavier weights, Bates and Guthrie said.

In fact, an evaluation of market hog values and feed prices by MSU Extension indicated that pigs could remain profitable to nearly 300 lb. In the evaluation, market animals were valued at 65 cents/lb. on a liveweight basis, which was the price paid for market hogs in December 2014. Since then, Bates and Guthrie said the industry has seen market prices continue to decline, leading to a 26% decrease in the price paid to farmers, with market weights remaining high, at an average of 283 lb.

In the evaluation, it was determined that the price would have to drop dramatically for heavyweight market pigs to become unprofitable.

"Though market weights have recently declined, market price has not declined enough for farmers to market pigs at lighter weights," they noted. "If either appears to be moving in a direction that will cause farmers to become unprofitable, market weights may decrease."

Pork producers are very savvy and will continue to evaluate market price and inputs costs, Bates and Guthrie said.

In the meantime, they said consumers are benefiting from an 8.6% increase in hogs being marketed compared to a year ago. This increase in the number of pigs marketed and heavier market weights has put more pork on the market, they said, which, in turn, lowers the price of pork paid by many consumers.


Trichinae testing eliminated

The recent elimination of trichinae testing for chilled pork products exported to Peru, Chile and Colombia is expected to expand market access for U.S. pork products in the South American nations, according to hog industry representatives.

The risk of getting trichinae from consuming U.S. pork is less than one in 300 million, but it has been a trade barrier for U.S. pork in those countries. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service quality assessment division recently announced a new auditing and certification program for hogs raised under the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus program, which led to those countries agreeing to eliminate the testing requirement.

U.S. pork industry representatives have worked closely with U.S. and Chilean officials for many years to eliminate trichinae testing. Since the implementation of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement in 2004, the country has become the fastest-growing U.S. pork export market in the world. In fact, U.S. pork sales to Chile have risen from 41 metric tons in 2003 to more than 19,000 mt in 2014, making it the second-largest South American market after Colombia.

Peru also recently agreed to eliminate trichinae testing requirements on chilled U.S. pork based on USDA certification that the pork originated from PQA Plus farms. U.S. pork imports to Peru increased significantly after the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement was implemented in 2009, jumping from just $650,000 in 2008 to more than $6.7 million in 2014.

Based on an analysis conducted by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, pork industry trade officials expect pork exports to Chile and Peru to grow even more now that the trichinae testing requirement has been eliminated.

The free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia was implemented in 2012. Tariffs on bacon and pork skin were eliminated when that agreement was approved and tariffs on most pork product will be phased out by next year. Colombia's import duties on U.S. pork are currently 6% and will be eliminated next year. The final removal of the trichinae mitigation requirement and the ability to ship fresh/chilled pork will further boost U.S. pork exports.


Pork pathogen sampling

USDA issued a notice April 13 that outlines sampling protocols for salmonella as part of the nationwide raw pork products exploratory sampling project (RPPESP).

USDA's Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) is implementing exploratory sampling of raw pork products for pathogens of public health concern, as well as for indicator organisms. The FSIS notice provides instructions to inspectors on how to update the establishment profile to include additional product groups so that all eligible pork products eventually will likely be subject to sampling.

FSIS will begin RPPESP to include product groups that are in USDA's Public Health Information System establishment profiles. All establishments that produce raw pork products with an average daily production volume of greater than 1,000 lb. are eligible for sampling.

Products sampled include bone-in, boneless and other intact cuts, ground pork, mechanically separated, advanced meat recovery products, sausages, patties and other formed, comminuted and non-intact products.

Not eligible for sampling are products that will receive full lethality treatment at a federally inspected establishment, provided that the establishment's hazard analysis and flow chart show that the product is intended for such a use.

Examples of full lethality treatments — other than cooking — can include high-pressure processing and irradiation, provided that the establishment has supporting documentation that shows that the treatment achieves a five-log reduction for salmonella and that the establishment applies the treatment in a manner that is consistent with its critical operational parameters.

Ineligible products include carcasses, primals, subprimals, edible offal, head meat, cheek meat and pork trimmings.


June pork conference

The pork checkoff will host the 2015 Pork Management Conference June 16-19 in New Orleans, La.

Titled "Your Pork Industry Investment," the annual conference will bring together experts from across the industry to speak on current business trends and challenges that help pork producers gain important insight and financial sophistication to manage their operation.

"The Pork Management Conference combines the latest production trends and business information with opportunities for pork producers to interact with knowledgeable financial professionals dedicated to helping them succeed," said James Coates, chair of the checkoff's producer and state services committee and a pork producer from Franklin, Ky.

In addition to the general sessions open to all attendees on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, two concurrent sessions are planned for Thursday. Topics will include capital development and diversification opportunities and experiences, generational transfer of farm ownership/leadership, audit overload panel, income and estate tax planning, surviving disasters on the farm, price discovery and mandatory price reporting.

A registration form and a detailed list of events are available at pork.org.

Volume:87 Issue:16

Names in the News, 4/27/15

Names in the News, 4/27/15

DIAMOND V, Cedar Rapids, Iowa — Shannon Burasco has joined the poultry team as business manager-broilers. Burasco was previously with CWT Farms International.

Dr. Sharon Heins Miller has joined the poultry team as poultry technical specialist. Miller was previously with House of Raeford.

DPI GLOBAL, Porterville, Cal. — Justin Clopton has joined the company as sales manager. Clopton will represent Micro-Aid in the southwestern U.S. territory.

KENT NUTRITION GROUP INC., Muscatine, Iowa — Renee Lloyd has joined the company as marketing manager, branded products. Lloyd was previously with McCormick Co.

LAND O'LAKES INC., Arden Hills, Minn.  — Tim Scott has been named senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Scott will lead brand strategy and execution across the family of brands in agribusiness and food production, including LAND O LAKES Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField Solutions. He will also be responsible for building marketing competencies across all businesses and geographies and will have oversight for the FLM+ subsidiary. He was previously with McGarryBowen.

MARSYT INC., Elizabethtown, Pa. — Dr. Bobbi Bailey has joined the technical team as beef technical specialist and regional sales.

Dr. Lisa R. Tager has joined the technical team as dairy nutrition technical specialist.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONSERVATION DISTRICTS, Washington, D.C. — Jeremy Peters has been named chief executive officer. Peters will manage the association and lead advocacy efforts on behalf of the nation's conservation districts. He was most recently chief operations officer.

R.J. O'BRIEN & ASSOCIATES, Chicago, Ill. — Richard Mayhew has joined the London, England,  affiliate, R.J. O'Brien (U.K.) Ltd., as senior vice president, head of grains and oilseeds, EMEA. Mayhew will serve commercial clients on all aspects of futures related to grains throughout the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. He was previously with ADM Investor Services International Ltd.

Volume:87 Issue:16

Congress urged to stay ahead of deadlines

Congress urged to stay ahead of deadlines

WITH presidential elections coming up soon, the window of time for Congress to approve crucial bills is already narrowing.

Reauthorization deadlines are approaching for both the U.S. Grain Standards Act and the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act. Two different House agriculture subcommittees held a hearing on each, with the hopes of setting the stage for passage before the laws expire in September.

Witnesses at both hearings made it clear that it's important to address reauthorization ahead of expiration. Legislation still needs to be finalized and work its way through the chambers.

During a hearing last Wednesday, Rep. Rick Crawford (R., Ark.), chairman of the House agriculture subcommittee on general farm commodities and risk management, said legislative drafts for an updated Grain Standards Act are nearly completed, and a legislative proposal for markup is expected soon.

Later in the day, the House livestock and foreign agriculture subcommittee heard from different commodity groups and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) on what works and what doesn't within the current system.

Subcommittee chairman Rep. David Rouzer (R., N.C.) said it is vital to have industry groups work together to find the best solution to address challenges facing stakeholders.

"As the committee works on reauthorizing the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act, it is the goal and intent of our committee to bring all parties together and strike a balance that promotes fairness, transparency and stability in the market," Rouzer said.

Pork producer James Heimerl testified that the mandatory price reporting (MPR) system for hogs and pork is "one of — if not the singularly — most important service the U.S. government provides to the U.S. industry."

Ed Greiman, cow/calf and feedlot operator and chairman of the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. cattle marketing and international trade committee, testified that MPR doesn't necessarily earn him more money, but it does give him open access to information and free trade.

A consistent theme from witnesses was a desire for MPR to be made an essential function of government so the reports will continue in the event of another government shutdown. (In the last government shutdown, no market price data were available to determine values for livestock.)

Pork producers did ask for some substantive changes to the current system, including adding a purchase category for negotiated formula sales and purchases and adding a provision to include late-day purchases in the subsequent day's purchased swine reports.

Mark Dopp, senior vice president and general counsel for NAMI, said meat industry members are working closely with the livestock producer community to come to a workable consensus and move the legislation forward "free of controversy."

During questioning, Dopp said NAMI has no objections to some of the ideas advanced by commodity groups, but he noted that the nuances and impacts of some proposals on the table also need to be better understood.

Other big-ticket reauthorization bills up for debate this year include the Child Nutrition Act and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In order to provide certainty to the industry, Congress will need to continue to vet proposals and secure approvals well in advance of the deadlines.

Volume:87 Issue:16

UNL to break ground on new vet diagnostic center

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) will break ground April 29 for a new Veterinary Diagnostic Center (VDC) on its East Campus in Lincoln, Neb.

VDC — Nebraska's only accredited veterinary diagnostic laboratory — improves animal health through diagnostics and disease surveillance, protecting the state's livestock industry. The center also develops cutting-edge testing methods and supports food safety and biomedical research. It works with public health officials to diagnose animal diseases that can lead to human illnesses and processes samples submitted by the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission to monitor and prevent the spread of wildlife diseases such as rabies and chronic wasting disease.

The center provides testing services to professionals and organizations across the nation and is considered a national center of excellence for testing of certain diseases in livestock.

Don Reynolds, director of the UNL School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said there is a great need for an updated facility.

The current center was built in 1975 and is insufficient to meet modern needs. The center's shortcomings include space limitations, poor ventilation and building design that carries increased risk for cross-contamination of contagious pathogens and pathogen exposure.

The Nebraska Legislature approved the new center in 2012. The project cost is $44.7 million, of which $4.1 million is coming from private funds. The other $40.6 million will be appropriated over 10 years in financial bonds.

The new center is projected to be completed by the end of 2017.

How is antibiotic use changing?

I think we can all agree it’s in everyone’s best interest to have access to effective antibiotics for people and for animals. It’s critical for public health — and vital for livestock production and well-being.

That’s why it’s also important for those of us in animal agriculture to demonstrate we’re doing our part to protect antibiotic effectiveness and in doing so, help maintain confidence in food safety. In pursuit of those objectives, labels of certain classes of antibiotics — those used in both animals and people — will be transitioning. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put forth plans to change the way feedand water-based antimicrobials are used in cattle and other production animals. Three documents provide the details: Guidance for Industry No. 209, Guidance for Industry No. 213 and Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) 21 CFR 558. The first one (No. 209) is the “what” component. It establishes the key principles: The use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals should be limited to:

• Uses necessary for assuring animal health
• Uses that include veterinary oversight

The second report (No. 213) is the “how” component. It provides a road map for implementing those two principles by addressing issues such as product labeling.

The third report (CFR 558) aims to modernize the VFD process. It’s an effort to streamline procedures while providing greater oversight.

The FDA is taking these steps to protect public health. On that front, it’s the right policy for the right reasons. The FDA calls antimicrobial resistance “a mounting public health problem of global significance.” The FDA fears that if certain antimicrobials are overused in animals, they’ll become less effective in humans.

When the FDA released these reports, the agency said it was pursuing a “voluntary approach” for compliance. The FDA plans to evaluate progress three years after final publication and “consider further actions as warranted.” Guidance for Industry No. 213 was finalized in December 2013. Now the clock is ticking.

From an industry perspective this might not seem ideal. However, it’s preferable to many alternatives, such as elimination of medications or Congressional oversight. No one wants those, either. These steps also go a long way toward protecting long-term access to antibiotics. The voluntary approach was wise for all parties. It gives everyone time to understand the policies, figure out how to comply with them and determine the most efficient process for transitions.

The industry is not going to lose all feed-grade antibiotics. But the way certain products are used will change. In modern livestock production, antibiotics are used in four ways:

1. Treat animals diagnosed with an illness
2. Control the spread of an illness in a herd
3. Prevent illness in healthy animals
4. Enhance growth or improve feed efficiency

The FDA says that “medically important” antibiotics would still be available for those first three, therapy-related uses under the supervision of a veterinarian. But these products could not be used for the fourth option: enhancing growth or improving feed efficiency (see table).

(“Medically important” refers to drugs considered important for therapeutic use in humans.)

Note that prevention remains an appropriate therapeutic use of antibiotics as determined by a veterinarian. It’s also important to clarify that performance claims still can be made for drugs that are used exclusively in animals.

Like many animal health companies, Elanco has publicly announced its intention to fully comply with the FDA guidance. It’s Elanco’s responsibility to help ensure that antimicrobials are used responsibly to protect the health of animals and humans as well as the safety of the food supply.

Moving forward, Elanco will make investments in innovative alternatives that could lessen the reliance on antibiotics while preserving the efficacy of antibiotics for humans, animals and food safety. When antibiotics are used, we want to ensure there is appropriate veterinary oversight and that they are used responsibly.

Courtesy of Elanco Animal Health

Antibiotics and consumer perceptions

Today, antibiotics used in farm animals are not typically a top-of-mind issue for consumers. However, consumer concerns about how animals are raised for food is real, and when they ask about antibiotic use they seek accurate information. Recent consumer market research yields insights into how to more effectively provide accurate information to consumers in words they understand.

So what do you do?
First, ensure that you use language that consumers understand; remember that it’s not always about what you say; it comes down to what consumers hear and how it relates to what they believe to be true.

Next, consumers suggest food channel stakeholders keep in mind the following points as they talk about antibiotics and how they’re used to keep farm animals healthy.

Align language — Consumers do not talk about antibiotics in the same way that the industry and scientists do; instead, talk with consumers using their own language.

Acknowledge concerns — recognize that consumers have legitimate concerns and questions about how and why antibiotics are used.

Accept responsibility — the industry has a role in providing clear answers to consumer questions about antibiotics and their use.

Add context — Talk about the reality of how antibiotics are just one of many options farmers consider and use as they care for their animals.

Changing the way we talk about antibiotics with consumers so that they are better able to understand what we say.

Antibiotics and consumer perceptions

Antibiotics and consumer perceptions

Listening to and acting upon how consumers suggest we communicate can help ensure that food channel stakeholders accurately address consumer inquiries about how animals are raised. Their suggestions can help all communicate more clearly regarding scientific information and animal-care practices.

Courtesy of Elanco Animal Health

Antibiotics in animals overview

The need for antibiotics
Bacteria and microbes are found everywhere in the environment, which means animals are exposed to the potential for disease whether they’re raised on open range or indoors. Antibiotics are used to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause disease.

Veterinarians and farmers use a variety of tools to protect the health and well-being of animals, including antibiotics. Veterinarians are uniquely qualified to determine how best to treat, control and prevent animals diseases to keep animals healthy, which is essential to both animal well-being and food safety.

Not all antibiotics are alike
Antibiotics can be grouped into three broad categories based upon approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA): approved for human-use only, approved for animal-use only, or approved for use in both humans and animals.

• Human-use-only antibiotics — These antibiotics are not approved to use for animals, creating a reserve of unique antibiotics for humans

• Animal-use-only antibiotics — These antibiotics have been developed to treat specific health requirements of animals and are not used in human medicine

• Shared-use antibiotics — are approved for use in animals and humans

Antibiotics help provide animal care in four ways
Antibiotics, used responsibly, along with good animal-care practices, help enhance food safety, animal health and well-being, and sustainability. Using antibiotics responsibly means treating an animal that is sick with the right dose at the right time. Veterinarians and farmers use antibiotics for animals in four ways:

1. To treat animals diagnosed with an illness,

2. To control spread of illness in a herd or flock,

3. To prevent illness in healthy animals when exposure is likely, and

4. To ensure healthy growth by maintaining the right balance of bacteria for improved nutrient utilization. For livestock, veterinarians and producers are voluntarily narrowing this type of use to animal-use-only antibiotics — those not used in human medicine — to protect human health and the long-term effectiveness of antibiotics.

Taking steps to ensure the responsible and continued use of antibiotics
As the public becomes increasingly interested in knowing more about how food is produced, food producers take seriously their responsibility to share the facts. To ensure responsible use of antibiotics, veterinarians and producers are implementing broad measures to study animal antibiotic use, and the implications and risks as well as how to minimize them. Today, there are three areas of progress to help assure the continued, responsible use of antibiotics in animals:

1. Narrowing antibiotic use — In the U.S., by 2017, veterinarians and producers will eliminate growth-promotion use of antibiotics approved for both humans and animals as defined in U.S. FDA Guidance 209 and 213.

2. Animal-only antibiotic innovations — animal-health organizations are moving toward developing antibiotics used only in animals.

3. More visibility and data — The U.S. National Antimicrobial Monitoring System will provide more data on antibiotic resistance through additional U.S. Department of Agriculture resourcing, leading to more in-depth evaluation and continued improvement.

Courtesy of Elanco Animal Health.

Antibiotics in animals FAQ

Are foods from animals treated with antibiotics safe to eat?
Yes. Before regulatory authorities approve antibiotics, they conduct a scientific review to determine safety for the animal, for the people who consume food from those animals, and for the environment. An outcome of this process is a strict set of rules regarding which approved antibiotics farmers can use to treat their animals, in what dose, and for how long. These rules also dictate the period of time it takes to effectively eliminate the antibiotic from the animal’s body before any milk or meat from these animals reach consumers.

Are there antibiotics in my milk or meat?
Regulatory agencies rigorously test milk, meat and poultry products to prevent harmful residues from reaching consumers. Milk and meat from animals being treated with approved antibiotics are not allowed to enter the food supply until the antibiotic is effectively eliminated from the animal’s system.

Does antibiotic use on farms cause antibiotic resistance?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the most serious pathogens contributing to antibiotic resistance are not related to antibiotics used in food animals. The concern over reduced effectiveness of antibiotics is real and needs to be addressed based on a clear understanding of what’s causing the problem and the viable solutions. All those involved — the human-, animal- and environmental-health communities — are taking responsibility and working together to develop long-term, sustainable solutions.

Is it true that 80 percent of antibiotics are used on farms?
Looking at percentages of antibiotics used in animals based on total weight or volume alone is deceiving, since the size and weight of animals vary dramatically. Each dose of an antibiotic administered by a veterinarian or farmer is based on the animal’s weight to ensure effectiveness. In fact, pound for pound, humans and their pets use 10x the amount of antibiotics used in food animals. Our collective focus needs to be on where the potential risk is greatest. According to the CDC, the most serious pathogens are not related to antibiotics used in food animals.

Who regulates antibiotics?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) has a stringent approval process for veterinary medicines and antibiotics — much like that for human medications. In fact, antibiotics used in animals require the same testing as those used in humans, with the additional requirement that they must be tested to ensure meat and milk from the animal given the medicine will be safe for human consumption.

Why don’t we move to all antibiotic-free production?
We have a moral and ethical obligation to ensure responsible animal care and well-being, which includes good management practices such as proper housing, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, and humane handling. No longer allowing the use of antibiotics in animals would negatively affect veterinarians’ ability to protect animal health and prevent suffering from disease, which can lead to poor animal well-being.

Have other countries eliminated antibiotic use in food animals?
No country has eliminated all antibiotic use in animals. Antibiotics are still used to treat sick animals in all countries. Countries globally are advancing new regulations that more closely align on how antibiotics are regulated. This is a process through which regulatory authorities, scientific experts, veterinarians and farmers are working together so they can best ensure that antibiotics are responsibly used when needed.

Courtesy of Elanco Animal Health