New data from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows that sales of antibiotics for animal agriculture have declined significantly. The 2017 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals demonstrates a decline of 33 percent between 2016 and 2017. Since the peak of domestic sales and distribution of medically important antibiotics for use in livestock in 2015, sales have declined 41 percent. Since the first year of reported sales in 2009, domestic sales and distribution have dropped by 28 percent.
“These reductions are an indication that our ongoing efforts to support antimicrobial stewardship are having a significant impact,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated in a news release also noting the latest summary is the first report to include data submitted after the full implementation of Guidance for Industry (GFI) #213. “The successful implementation of changes, such as those outlined in GFI #213, depend heavily on the commitment of our key partners and stakeholders, including animal pharmaceutical and feed industries, the animal agriculture community, the veterinary community, and other federal and state agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
While sales data does not automatically correlate with an actual reduction in antimicrobial use, Gottlieb noted the lower sales volume is an indicator that ongoing efforts to support antimicrobial stewardship are having a significant impact. Some of the work being done to further improve antibiotic use in food animals include a recent announcement between a group of major food companies, retailers, livestock producers, as well as trade and professional associations.
The Framework for Antibiotic Stewardship in Food Animal Production agreed to by groups such as the National Turkey Federation, National Milk Producers Federation, McDonald’s Corporation, Walmart Inc., and Tyson Foods, lays out definitive components of effective stewardship. The framework comes after a two-year dialogue moderated by the Farm Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.