There is growing public and regulatory attention surrounding antibiotic use in food-producing animals. Are some antibiotics used in hogs of more concern than others?

Antibiotics of most concern are those used to treat stubborn infections in people, says Paul Sundberg, assistant vice president of veterinary issues for the National Pork Producers Council. The concern is that agricultural uses of these antibiotics could contribute to decreasing sensitivity of these bacteria. But this has to be kept in perspective when you consider all the prescriptions written and the proportion of human antibiotic use, he says.

Pork producers have worked closely with the American Association of Swine Practitioners to develop guidelines for judicious antibiotic use. Everyone, including physicians and their patients and veterinarians and their clients, needs to understand how to use antibiotics wisely, contends Sundberg. NPPC and AASP acknowledge the importance of using antibiotics correctly and only when necessary.

Ensuring proper use of all swine medications was NPPC's goal in 1989 when it developed the Pork Quality Assurance Program in cooperation with the National Pork Board.

For more information on PQA or the antibiotic issue, contact Sundberg at (515) 223-2600.