Recommendations for addressing antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a report issued last week by a White House advisory panel were welcomed by the National Pork Producers Council, which said U.S. pork producers having been doing their part to tackle the growing resistance problem.
The Presidential Advisory Council on Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB) recommended that federal agencies involved in the effort to address antibiotic resistant take a number of steps, including embracing a “One Health” approach that looks at the resistance issue from a human, animal and environmental prospective; improving coordination and collaboration among agencies; establishing partnerships with states and local agencies, tribes, private-sector organizations, commodity groups, philanthropic organizations and international bodies; providing economic incentives for developing and deploying new diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic tools to fight diseases; and committing sufficient resources to address the resistance problem.
On the latter, PACCARB advocated that, at a minimum, agencies’ fiscal 2016 funding levels be maintained. It also pushed for funding U.S. Department of Agriculture efforts to conduct on-farm antibiotic-resistance surveillance. (USDA got no fiscal 2016 money for surveillance.)
“For at least the past 10 years, pork producers have taken steps to address the resistance issue, so we agree with these recommendations, particularly the need for adequate funding,” said NPPC President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “Pork producers support changes to confront this very serious problem, and we will continue to do our part.”
Beginning next year, pork producers no longer will be able to use antibiotics important for human medicine for promoting growth in animals, and they will be required to obtain a veterinary prescription for other uses of those same antibiotics delivered in feed and water. Additionally, the pork industry has invested more than $6 million to collect data related to and conduct research on the resistance issue, including on alternative antibiotic technologies, the effects of therapeutic antibiotic treatment on multi-drug resistant Salmonella and the environmental fate of antibiotics in manure.
“Antibiotics are essential tools for keeping our animals healthy and producing safe food,” Weber said. “So ensuring they continue to work against diseases is vital to producers.”
The PACCARB report also looked at federal government efforts over the past six months to implement the national action plan to address antibiotic resistance, finding that good progress has been made, including establishing programs for requiring antibiotic stewardship in inpatient and long-term care settings; setting up a public-private partnership to support and accelerate clinical development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics; and implementing the Veterinary Feed Directive rule related to feed and water uses of antibiotics for food animals.