Antimicrobials play a critical role in food production, food safety and animal health, and they’ve also been the recent focus of conversation and controversy from America’s farms to Capitol Hill.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is developing a strategy that it hopes will be successful in reducing antimicrobial resistance while minimizing adverse impacts on animal health and disruption of the animal-ag industry. As part of this process, the agency is hosting a series of meetings for veterinarians and producers to provide feedback on the challenges they may face as the FDA phases in veterinary oversight of the therapeutic use of medically important antimicrobials, and phases out production uses for increased feed efficiency and improved rate of gain. A key aspect of the discussions will focus on the potential challenges faced by animal producers in areas that may lack access to adequate veterinary services and to explore ways to minimize any adverse effects.
The next three meetings are scheduled in Fort Collins, Colo., on May 8; Pierre, S.D., on May 21, and College Station, Texas, on June 4. The AVMA, an active participant in discussions and fact-finding efforts with the FDA on the antimicrobial issue, will have a representative in attendance at the meetings to provide background information on veterinary oversight from the AVMA’s perspective.
We strongly urge veterinarians to attend the meetings where they can. If you are unable to attend, the FDA also will seek public input and additional feedback through other forums as it works collaboratively with the USDA, veterinary and producer organizations to address this important issue. Comments also may be made to the FDA up to 60 days after the last scheduled meeting on June 4.