My family traveled to Florida last week to celebrate my dad’s life at a beautiful Memorial Service. As I stood in the airport waiting to board the first plane of the journey, I fielded a phone call from a Wall Street Journal reporter.
The FDA had announced earlier that morning that it intended to issue Guidance Document 213 to the Federal Registrar. This action renewed media interest in the topic of antibiotic use in food animals. Guidance 213 and its accompanying Feed Veterinary Directive implement the FDA’s policy of judicious antimicrobial use in food producing animals by two mechanisms:
- An extension of veterinary oversight in the care of food animals.
- The elimination of the sub-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in food animals.
Guidance 213 establishes a three-year timeframe for accomplishing these two important goals. In a nutshell, it creates a documented paper trail for veterinary oversight of all antibiotics (eliminating all Over The Counter usage) while at the same time completely phasing out the use of antibiotics that are important to human medicine for growth promotion purposes.
The first question that the reporter asked me was,
“Anne, how will Guidance 213 affect your farm?”
The short answer to this question is “not much”. I followed this up with a more detailed response… Because, as my girls are quick to remind me, I enjoy pontificating on topics that I am passionate about!
- My veterinarian plays a key role in every animal health issue that I have at the feed yard. He is on site at least once a month and we remain in contact via telephone or email in between those visits. There is already close veterinarian oversight on my farm. As such, the only change that Guidance 213 brings to me is that my vet will have additional paperwork to fill out certifying this oversight.
- I do not use medically important antibiotics for growth promotion purposes. I only use those antibiotics for the control/treatment/prevention of disease; therefore, there will be no changes relative to mechanism #2.
Those of you that have followed Feed Yard Foodie for a long time will perhaps remember a detailed series of FYF posts relative to antibiotic use. I wrote this series when my youngest daughter was hospitalized with a virulent strain of pneumonia two years ago. This issue is one that is near and dear to my heart.
I invite all of you to reread these posts, and ask any questions that you might have relative to the issue.