Government Addresses Antimicrobial Use and Antibiotic Resistance

June 2, 2015 03:30 PM
Government Addresses Antimicrobial Use and Antibiotic Resistance

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released the final rule for the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) today, which will require veterinary supervision for use of antimicrobials in livestock destined for the food chain.

The VDF outlines the process livestock producers will need to go through in order to use antibiotics on their animals under the watch of their veterinarian. Veterinarians will be required to continue issuing all VDFs within the context of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

The VDF gives an outline when the use of antimicrobials in feed is acceptable for certain animal health reasons.

“The actions the FDA has taken to date represent important steps toward a fundamental change in how antimicrobials can be legally used in food-producing animals,” says Michael R. Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods.

Taylor adds the rule will help facilitate veterinary oversight “in a way that allows for the flexibility needed to accommodate the diversity of circumstances that veterinarians encounter, while ensuring such oversight is conducted in accordance with nationally consistent principles.”

This is the latest update to the VDF following the December 2013 publishing of the FDA’s guidance document that had animal pharmaceutical manufacturers voluntarily remove labels stating antimicrobials promote animal growth. It also called for a labeling change to the products where veterinary supervision was mandated when the drugs are used for therapeutic reasons.

Updating the VDF wasn’t the only news for antibiotic use this past week.

Today, the White House is hosting an antibiotic summit with 150 guests from academia, health care organizations, advocacy groups and food-production businesses. The primary topic of discussion has been dealing with antibiotic resistant bacteria. President Obama even announced that federal cafeterias will begin serving meat and poultry sourced from animals raised on fewer antibiotics in an effort to stop the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Meanwhile, across the country in Oregon farmers and ranchers are fighting with state lawmakers who are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics in agriculture. Oregon State Public Interest Group aided in writing the bill aiming to ban the use of antibiotics as a way to prevent livestock illnesses on farms.

Here is the video story from Fox News on the ensuing battle in Oregon:

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