News Releases

Date: 6/28/2010

Title: NCBA Statement on FDA Draft Guidance on Antibiotic Use

--NCBA Statement on FDA Draft Guidance on “The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals”

WASHINGTON - "Antimicrobial resistance is a multi-faceted and extremely complex issue that cannot be adequately addressed by solely focusing on the use of these medications in animal agriculture. Only by carefully evaluating antimicrobial resistance in a comprehensive manner that evaluates all of the peer-reviewed science related to all animal use, human use and industrial use will we effectively address this important issue.

"The industry actively monitors the international science on livestock antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance to ensure our policies and guidelines remain consistent with current knowledge on this complex issue. Ranchers have an obligation to protect cattle health and welfare. We also have an obligation to protect human health by promoting food safety and providing a safe and wholesome beef supply. The prudent and appropriate use of antibiotics and other modern compounds is an essential tool for beef producers to prevent, control and treat disease in cattle. Preventative medicine is the cornerstone of maintaining a healthy U.S. cattle herd.

"The industry’s Beef Quality Assurance program (BQA) has been training cattle ranchers about the safe and appropriate use of antibiotics for more than two decades. Beef ranchers are expected to follow the Producer Guidelines for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials, which have been in place since 1987. The guidelines are based on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) and the Academy of Veterinary Consultant’s (AVC) judicious use guidelines and strengthened to include beef producer’s commitment to the importance of human use antimicrobials

"Foundations of our Judicious Use Guidelines include preventing problems by appropriate husbandry, nutrition and cattle management; and working with veterinarians to select and use antibiotics carefully when needed. Ranchers work with their veterinarians to provide comprehensive herd-health plans to prevent problems and treat issues when they arise.

"NCBA will carefully review this draft guidance and the reports cited as the basis of their reasoning for their framework for policy on this issue. NCBA supports actions based only on sound, peer-reviewed science and risk assessment relative to the use of antibiotics. More clarity is needed in definitions related to many of the concepts in this document, and we look forward to continuing to provide input to FDA.

"As FDA officials seek stakeholder input, we encourage them to go out and visit farms and ranches to see firsthand how our producers are utilizing antimicrobials and working with their veterinarians to keep cattle healthy and ensure safe and wholesome beef."

By: Dr. Elizabeth Parker, NCBA Chief Veterinarian

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