Technical / White Paper

Antibiotic Use in Food Animals

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Antibiotic Use in Food Animals

Broad concern and confusion about antibiotic use on farms have been expressed by the general public and policymakers. Key reasons for this concern and confusion can be traced to numerous factors including:

  • Antibiotic use in food animals is not a black‐and‐white issue. It is a complex issue that is all too frequently over simplified by both critics and proponents.
  • Misunderstanding that a concern is not equivalent to risk.
  • The disconnect between consumers and agriculture (and those in agriculture), with most consumers being at least three generations removed from the farm.
  • Activist messaging, the media and the Internet are often inaccurate and misleading regarding antibiotic use, and in particular antibiotic resistance and its relationship to use, in food‐animal production.

Antibiotic use in food animals is highly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA CVM). Regulatory oversight provides assurance in the development of safe products. Education and training encourages producers to have a strong relationship with their veterinarians and provides guidance on the responsible use of antibiotics. Government surveillance and testing ensures that no harmful residues, as established by the FDA, enter the food supply.

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