As part of World Antibiotics Awareness Week, the National Pork Producers Council is highlighting U.S. pork producers’ three-decade commitment to responsible and necessary use of animal health products to keep their animals healthy and to produce safe food.

Among those efforts, the U.S. pork industry:

1980s

  • Developed in 1989 the Pork Quality Assurance program to address concerns over antibiotic residues. Today, 99.9 percent of pork tested meets FDA residue standards.

1990s

  • Established Judicious Use of Antibiotics standards for pork producers to follow.
  • Supported establishment in 1996 of the federal National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System to track antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria from humans, retail meats and food animals. The industry continues to lobby Congress for federal funding for the program.

2000s

  • Backed in 2002 USDA’s Collaboration in Animal Health and Food Safety Epidemiology pilot program to enhance overall understanding of the epidemiology of antibiotic resistant foodborne bacteria that pose a food-safety risk by monitoring antibiotic use on farm and bacteria on farm and in plants.
  • Developed in 2005 the Take Care – Use Antibiotics Responsibly program to provide pork producers and their veterinarians principles and guidelines to use when making antibiotic use decisions. FDA, CDC and veterinarians provided input for the program.
  • Incorporated in 2007 the Take Care – Use Antibiotics Responsibly program into the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program. PQA Plus, which includes producer certification and on-farm assessments, has assessment points on veterinary-client-patient relationships and antibiotic use record keeping.

2010s

  • Supported in 2013 FDA Guidance for Industry #213, which lays out the framework for judicious use of antibiotics in food-animal production. The guidance asks drug manufacturers to give up growth promotion claims for antibiotics that are medically important to human medicine. Using those same antibiotics for treatment, control or prevention of diseases must be under veterinary oversight.
  • Collaborated in 2014 with USDA and FDA to develop meaningful antibiotic use data collection. The effort is ongoing.
  • Conducted in 2014 outreach to pork producers about FDA Guidance #213 and a revised Veterinary Feed Directive rule. The effort is ongoing.
  • Participated in 2015 in the President’s National Strategy for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.