US pork producers are ready for antibiotics rule change in 2017

The vast majority of US pork producers are “aware and ready” to cope with planned regulatory changes regarding the on-farm use of antibiotics in the US, according to new survey results published by Pork Checkoff, which is part of the country’s National Pork Board (NPB).

The survey showed that 82% of US pig farmers are aware of the upcoming regulatory changes, with 71% saying they already have a defined record-keeping protocol in place that they will follow once the new rules come into force on January 1, 2017.

“This level of awareness underscores the real and substantive changes occurring today on how pig farmers use antibiotics on the farm,” said NPB president, Derrick Sleezer, adding that such a high level of awareness was “encouraging, but not surprising” given that the US pork industry is working hard to educate its pork producers about the upcoming deadline.

The new rules define how medically important feed-grade antibiotics should be used to treat, control and prevent disease, as well as the importance of farmers establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Implementation guidance also mandates that medically important antibiotics can no longer be used to promote animal growth and sets a higher standard for on-farm record keeping.

“Consumers can have confidence that the US pork industry is doing the right thing in regard to antibiotic stewardship,” said Mr Sleezer. “Understanding the role responsible antibiotic use plays on a farm is one of our top priorities.”

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