Friday, October 30, 2015

Antibiotics panel named for U.S. pork industry

The United States National Pork Board has announced the seven members of its blue-ribbon panel on antibiotics.

The new and independent panel includes experts with specific experience and knowledge in antibiotic practices or consumer marketing.

The panel’s is to review the status of antibiotic use in the pork industry and advise National Pork Board about research and producer education.

It is being asked to offer guidance on how to improve antibiotic stewardship in the pork industry. The panel members are:

Mike Apley, food animal production medicine, Kansas State University;
Bonnie Buntain, coordinator of the veterinary medical and surgical program, University of Arizona;
Mike Chaddock, associate dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University;
Chris Cochran, senior manager, food sustainability, Walmart;
Jim McCollum, protein purchasing manager, Independent Purchasing Cooperative, Inc.;
Justin Ransom, senior director, quality systems U.S., McDonald’s restaurant chain, and
Steve Solomon, public health consultant and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s office of antimicrobial resistance.

 “The science is complicated, but we do know how to improve the use of antibiotics in both human and animal medicine,” Solomon,said in a news release.

“We need to better translate complex information about antibiotic use for the benefit of the food consumer and the medical community.”

The National Pork Board has set out a three-point plan and five research priorities:

Research – Investing $750,000 in provide data for animal and public health outcomes (pig health/welfare, human health/safety, environmental impact and pork quality).

Education – Updating the Pork Quality Assurance Plus farmer certification program in 2016 and investing up to $400,000 in education and awareness programs to ensure pig farmers understand and adopt new Food and Drug Administration rules for the use of medically important antibiotics (to treat human illness) in feed and water. 

Communications – Gathering industry leaders for meetings on responsible antibiotic use and sharing the American pork industry’s story of continuous improvement with producers and consumer media through outreach, byline articles and advertisements.

And what are we doing in Canada? Something like the Harper government attitude about climate change - i.e. wait to see what the Americans are doing, then boldly announce "Me, too!"