The National Institute for Animal Agriculture has produced a white paper based off of its recent “Antibiotic Use in Food Animals: A Dialogue for a Common Purpose” symposium in Chicago.

I attended this excellent symposium that brought together scientists, producers, veterinarians and members of the food and human medical communities to discuss antibiotic use as well as resistance factors, issues and misinformation.

Some of the biggest take-home messages from the meeting that are within the white paper are common on‐farm practices that consumers should know about regarding food‐animal production. These include:

  • Modern livestock farms increasingly involve licensed veterinarians who advise on health management decisions.
  • Vaccines are used to protect animals from various illnesses.
  • Sick animals are treated with medicines, such as antibiotics, to restore their health, and protections are in place to ensure that their meat or milk is safe for people.
  • The FDA approves the use of all new animal drugs after testing and confirming animal safety and human food safety.
  • If antibiotics are administered to cure a sick animal, the animal itself — in the case of meat production — or animal products — such as milk — are not allowed to enter the food supply until the withdrawal period has passed and the medicine has sufficiently cleared the animal’s system. The required periods for withdrawing medication are specific for each drug and species and are approved by the FDA based on research studies of residues in edible tissues.

The intent of the discussion and moving forward with it is summed up nicely in the white paper. It said: There should be an achievable, unified goal of “One Health: Healthy People, Healthy Animals, Healthy Food.”

View the white paper here.

To see some of Bovine Veterinarian’s re-cap of the symposium, visit these links.