Response to Weighing in on Antibiotic Issue

Published on: 14:18PM Sep 01, 2009

By Dan Goehl, DVM

Follow this link to access the original blog: Time to Weigh-In on Antibiotic Issue.

Dr. Goehl. You are simply incorrect there is no evidence that reducing antibiotic use will impact resistance. When Quebec voluntarily stopped injecting ceftiofur (a cephalosporin) into eggs, there was a rather marked and immediate reduction in resistant Salmonella heidelberg in both chickens and in the human population. This is just one recent example. there are many more. See, a Canadian public health agency publication.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009 6:12 PM
by: David Wallinga, MD

Dr. Wallinga,

As I have a background in the beef industry it took a few days to respond, but I did take time to research the information you forwarded. As in most things it is easy to find information to support bias and it is then up to us to determine if we feel that information is adequately researched and stands up to scientific evaluation. I was speaking about PAMTA related issues.  (Click here to access industry letter on antibiotics). 

PAMTA specifically addresses sub-therapeutic uses not antimicrobials used for therapeutic purposes. The in ovo or day of age use of ceftiofur in poultry is therapy........albiet mass therapy but therapy nevertheless.

It should be noted the U.S. has shown strong reductions in food borne diseases since 1997. The Salmonella food safety picture is so good in fact in the U.S. that Dr. Pat McDermott who runs the retail arm of NARMS has said that FDA will cease monitoring surveillance for Salmonella sps. in ground beef and pork chops (revealed at AVMA this July in Seattle) because of the extremely low incidences found. The retail arm of NARMS is considered the food safety sentinel or early warning system in the US. 

While there is some data which can connect the cause/effect dots for "outbreaks" of food borne disease, these are most commonly related to temperature abused product handling, undercooking, post processing recontamination or "C" all of the above. Some of the greatest health outbreaks in recent years have been tracked to vegetables. In a related instance there is no evidence that enrofloxacin resistance in Campylobacter has declined in either poultry or humans since the withdrawal of enrofloxacin from the poultry marketplace in 2005. 

Also, following the ban of antimicrobials in swine feed in Denmark, illness has gone up and the use of therapeutics has increased. Unfortunately, as you know food is not and will never be sterile. It should go without saying that American agriculture produces the most abundant and safest supply of food in the history of the world without which millions of people would go hungry. They should be applauded.