The antimicrobial controversy for the food animal industry isn’t going way. This was demonstrated by the strong turnout at the American Dairy Science Association’s seventh annual Discover conference for food animal agriculture, “Is there a future for antibiotics in animal agriculture?”

A diverse group of 123 agricultural industry experts from 11 different countries combined for presentations and discussions, while coming away learning more about top areas of concern:

  • The food animal industry needs to agree on a standard set of definitions and have all industries…pork, beef, dairy and poultry use this list. Of particular concern is defining what is considered to be an antibiotic versus an antimicrobial.
  • The food animal industry needs to be proactive instead of reactive about the way antimicrobials are used in animal production as well as why they are used.
  • The way producers are using antimicrobials is changing and will continue to change as more information is obtained concerning the development and dissemination of resistance in bacteria. It may not come tomorrow, but producers won’t have free reign any more.
  • The U.S. regulatory process makes it difficult to develop and market new antibiotics.
  • The industry needs to continue and increase its transparency with consumers about the use of antimicrobials in food animal production.
  • Retailers will continue to demand traceability for meat products. This will present challenges for the industry as these programs are developed.