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New FDA antibiotic sales data: What’s its relevance to reducing antibiotic resistance?
January 8, 2018

New FDA antibiotic sales data: What’s its relevance to reducing antibiotic resistance?

The Food and Drug Administration releases animal antibiotic sales data annually. The report for 2016 shows decreases in two key categories: sales for livestock and poultry, and medically important antibiotics. Although the latest report shows a reduction, we need to focus on using antibiotics responsibly, which in agriculture means to use less while preserving the ability to responsibly use antibiotics when needed.


Confused by meat labels? Here’s what you need to know
December 18, 2017

Confused by meat labels? Here’s what you need to know

The USDA’s glossary of meat and poultry labeling terms has 20 items from “basted or self-basted” to “young turkey” and includes “natural,” “no hormones” and “organic.” What do they all mean? Here’s some background and perspective on labels in general and one – no antibiotics added – in particular. Other resources are available as well that will help you the next time you’re at the supermarket shopping for meat.


Why antibiotic use to prevent disease in livestock and poultry must remain an option
December 4, 2017

Why antibiotic use to prevent disease in livestock and poultry must remain an option

I am deeply troubled by the increasing call to eliminate the use of antibiotics to prevent disease in animals. As a veterinarian focused on the health of animals, I can say without question that if we lose the ability to use antibiotics for prevention purposes, more animals will die.


How are antibiotics in agriculture being used in 2017?
November 13, 2017

How are antibiotics in agriculture being used in 2017?

The use of antibiotics in animal agriculture is an important factor in providing the safe, affordable food we need and want. At the same time, antibiotic resistance is a complex and serious issue. That’s why farmers, veterinarians and regulators, principally the Food and Drug Administration, collaborated to address antibiotic resistance, changing the way animal agriculture operates today.


Worried about eating meat with antibiotics? Don’t be. Here’s why.
September 18, 2017

Worried about eating meat with antibiotics? Don’t be. Here’s why.

Eating meat that contains antibiotics? Despite the number of questions on this topic asked on Google, it’s not a problem. That’s because safeguards, which start on the farm and extend into the processing plant, are in place to ensure meat doesn’t contain unsafe drug residues, including from antibiotics.


What antibiotics are used for farm animals?
August 14, 2017

What antibiotics are used for farm animals?

Some antibiotics are approved for use in animals, others in people, and still others in both animals and people (also called shared class antibiotics), but the majority of antibiotics used in animals are non-critical to human medicine.


3 reasons why antibiotics are given to farm animals
July 13, 2017

3 reasons why antibiotics are given to farm animals

Animal welfare, food safety and sustainability – there are good reasons animals raised for food are given antibiotics. Responsible use of antibiotics is the key, and procedures are in place to ensure there are no unsafe residues in meat, milk and eggs.


When science and some consumers are on opposite sides of an issue
May 9, 2017

When science and some consumers are on opposite sides of an issue

There’s strong evidence antibiotics used in livestock and poultry are not driving antibiotic resistance in humans, that responsible use of antibiotics minimizes agriculture’s environmental impact, and unsafe antibiotic residue in food from animals is uncommon. While science is the foundation of those findings, and decision-making processes people use to form opinions are complex, it can be discouraging when groups or individuals choose to support science only when it agrees with issues upon which they’ve made up their minds.


FDA approves animal drugs, too; rigorous process followed
April 21, 2017

FDA approves animal drugs, too; rigorous process followed

The Food and Drug Administration not only has an intensive approval process for drugs for animals that’s similar to the approval human drugs undergo, but the FDA performs additional studies on drugs for food-producing animals not required for human drugs to be sure meat, milk and eggs are safe for us to consume, and that the drugs are safe for the environment. This process is intended to ensure public health.


Animal antibiotics conversation requires context
March 27, 2017

Animal antibiotics conversation requires context

Comparing animal and human antibiotic use is complicated. That’s why the proper context is so important.


New online resource does good job explaining the complex subject of antibiotic resistance
February 9, 2017

New online resource does good job explaining the complex subject of antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance, bacteria that evolve to the point they are not easily killed by antibiotics, is a scientifically complex subject and a concern for human and animal health. A new online resource does an excellent job explaining antibiotic resistance.


Preventing disease is a big part of a veterinarian’s ethical obligation
January 20, 2017

Preventing disease is a big part of a veterinarian’s ethical obligation

Animals raised for food live in herds or flocks, share water and feed troughs, and seek close contact with one another by licking, laying on each other and even rubbing snouts and noses. This can spread illnesses rapidly. Waiting for animals to show symptoms of an illness before beginning treatment is often too late. Swift action can prevent the spread of disease and result in animals receiving fewer antibiotics than they would have had they not received preventive medication.


New year brings changes: Farmers and veterinarians must work even closer together to use antibiotics responsibly
December 22, 2016

New year brings changes: Farmers and veterinarians must work even closer together to use antibiotics responsibly

New Food and Drug Administration guidance that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, will end the use of antibiotics important to human medicine to promote growth in animals or to improve feed efficiency, and require veterinary oversight for the use of medically important antibiotics in animal agriculture.


Antibiotics are important to food safety, affordability
December 5, 2016

Antibiotics are important to food safety, affordability

As a veterinarian, I need to be able to answer questions about antibiotic use in farm animals in an informed and evidence-based way. Based on scientific research and practical experience, I’m completely comfortable telling people that using antibiotics responsibly makes meat, milk and eggs safer with the added benefit of lower food costs.


Food safety for the holidays: Proper cooking is a must
November 17, 2016

Food safety for the holidays: Proper cooking is a must

An important food safety step is making sure meat is handled properly and cooked to the right temperature. And that responsibility lies with the people preparing the food for the millions of holiday gatherings that take place in homes across the country, including mine.


What do antibiotics have to do with sustainability?
October 29, 2016

What do antibiotics have to do with sustainability?

Animal antibiotics have been used by farmers for decades to make food safer and prevent animal suffering. Using them responsibly also lessens the burden on our planet.


Balancing Concerns
October 7, 2016

Balancing Concerns

As a veterinarian, it is my duty to weigh the decision on whether to use antibiotics on the farm in order to balance both public health and animal needs. I took an oath to prevent and treat animal suffering as well as promote public health and protect animal health. It’s a real balancing act some days, but when an animal is sick with a bacterial infection, treating it with antibiotics is the right thing to do.


Can UN action on antibiotics create a more productive public dialogue?
September 26, 2016

Can UN action on antibiotics create a more productive public dialogue?

The U.N. General Assembly passed a declaration aiming to slow down the spread of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. The U.S. is well underway in following the U.N.’s directive. Animal health companies are eliminating the use of antibiotics important to human medicine for the purpose of promoting growth in animals. In many cases, these antibiotics will only be available under a Veterinary Feed Directive starting the first of the year.


Many Steps Taken to Keep Animals Healthy, Food Safe
September 12, 2016

Many Steps Taken to Keep Animals Healthy, Food Safe

The responsible use of antibiotics is just one tool used on farms to keep animals healthy. Good stewardship also involves proper nutrition, good ventilation, biosecurity, appropriate housing and other measures designed to protect animal health and ensure food produced from animals is safe. Although vaccines are not available for every disease, when they are, they help protect an animal’s health, too.