NPA updates FSA on antibiotic progress in the pig sector

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies has updated the board of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on the progress the pig sector is making in reducing antibiotic usage.

Dr Davies was invited to address the board in a closed session, as the agency looks to keep tabs on what is happening across the food industry to address the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

She was able to highlight rapid progress  in uploading usage data onto the eMB-Pigs database, with approaching 60% of the 2015 herd covered, and falling antibiotic sales.

The board was also informed of progress with implementing the NPA’s Antibiotic Stewardship Programme, which sets out an holistic approach to tackling the problem.

Dr Davies said: “We are never complacent and there is plenty more to do, but the industry really is taking great strides forward in reducing and refining antibiotic usage, ahead of the establishment of new sector targets later this year.

“The presentation was well received and FSA board members were pleased to see such good progress in a relatively short space of time. It is hoped that this approach will encourage the FSA to work with the pig industry in a positive way going forwards.”

The key elements of the NPA’s Antibiotic Stewardship Programme are:

  • Capture and collate antibiotic use data recorded on pig farms
  • Benchmark each farm’s antibiotic use against other farms of a similar type
  • Extend education in effective disease control strategies and promote uptake of the City & Guilds Certificate of Competence in Safe Use of Veterinary Medicines recently updated to include specific reference to antibiotics
  • Reduce antibiotic use, consistent with responsible human and food-animal medicine
  • Promote veterinary prescribing principles to strictly limit the use of antibiotics of critical importance to human health
  • Appoint Stewardship Commissars who will continually review industry’s use of antimicrobials and champion initiatives.

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About The Author

Editor of Pig World and contributor to LBM’s other farming publications. Also National Pig Association webmaster. Formerly political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years. Enjoy a bit of media punditry. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm. Work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Under-9 football coach and big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.