The Obama administration is proposing new regulations on the use of antibiotics in both humans and animals, and the pork industry is in support of this new policy. The White House released a comprehensive action plant to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. With this plan, the Administration’s 2016 budget nearly doubles the amount of federal funding to prevent antibiotic resistance to a total of $1.2 billion. Pork Checkoff spokesman Kevin Waetke says this is welcome news for the pork industry, “We applaud the White House action plan. The White House action aligns with the research and vision we have supported all along.” He said pork producers are responsible users of antibiotics, “Antibiotics are needed on the farm to support herd health, but they need to be administered in an appropriate way. And that is exactly what we endorse at the National Pork Board.”
With the checkoff funded PQA program, pork producers are provided training and recommendations on the use of these drugs in pork production. “The PQA plus program recommends the use of antibiotics, but under the direction of a veterinarian. We also recommend producers stay in compliance with USDA and FDA requirements,” said Waetke. He added promoting human health and animal health is a top priority for the pork checkoff.
The plan, formally known as the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, sets goals to reduce, by 50% to 60%, illnesses caused by some of the most lethal microbes known to man by 2020. It seeks enhanced laboratory capacity across the U.S. to detect the worst pathogens, and it calls on federal agencies to set new rules aimed at curbing dangerous microbes. “It is the boldest move against antibiotic resistance by any U.S. administration ever,” said Kevin Outterson, a Boston University law professor, researcher and author on antibiotic resistance. He predicted the initiative, along with voluntary efforts by companies such as McDonald’s to reduce the use of meat from animals routinely fed antibiotics, “will actually bear fruit quickly.”