Antibiotics

The Situation

Producers recognize the importance of using antibiotics responsibly in animals and in humans to protect the health and well-being of both while striving to reduce the overall need for the use of antibiotics and maintain their efficacy for future generations. Pork producers depend on the availability of these safe and effective animal health products to maintain healthy and productive animals, prevent animal suffering and ensure that consumers have access to safe and wholesome pork products. FDA’s Guidance for Industry 213 makes it illegal for farmers and veterinarians to administer antibiotics that are medically important for human medicine to food animals for promoting growth. NPPC supports this policy.

NPPC's Position

Therapeutic uses of medically important antibiotics — for disease prevention, control and treatment — are essential to producing safe food and must remain available.

  • NPPC also supports veterinary oversight of antibiotic uses and objectives, scientifically rigorous studies and risk assessments to help farmers make informed decisions about the use of antibiotics in food animals
  • Additionally, NPPC supports collaborating with the agricultural industry to voluntarily collect information on how antibiotics are used in animals
  • NPPC is working with the USDA and the FDA to develop plans to collect more detailed data on how antibiotics are used in food-animal production to assess the success of Guidance 213 and to better understand the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance

Fast Facts

  • Antibiotics have been used to treat and prevent disease or improve performance — promote growth — in animals for more than 50 years.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a strict approval process for antibiotics that considers not only their safety and efficacy in animals, but their potential to affect public health and the environment.
  • When antibiotics are used, farmers follow withdrawal periods set by FDA before marketing their animals.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tests for residues to confirm that meat is free of any harmful level of antibiotics.

Additional Resources