The use of antimicrobials in food animals has recently become the focus of the Food and Drug Administration, as well as a good portion of the public. To address some of their concerns about potential spread of antibiotic resistance in humans, the FDA has determined that increased veterinary oversight of the use of medically important antimicrobials is necessary. The agency plans on issuing a final guidance document related to the judicious use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals sometime early this year.
When the agency released an early version of this proposed policy – Draft Guidance for Industry #209 – last year, we offered our input and anticipated that we would have more to say in the future. As members of the AVMA Executive Board deliberated what role the association should play in helping the FDA address these concerns, we elected to form the AVMA Steering Committee for FDA Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials.
Now we are looking to select members for this steering committee, and we’re asking our members to provide us their expertise. We’re looking for active AVMA members who have familiarity with the practical aspects of the field use of antimicrobials in food-animal production. We’re also seeking the balanced perspectives and views of those involved in both public health and animal agriculture. We expect this committee to be engaged in discussions with the FDA to help them develop a framework for greater veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use.
We want to be at the forefront of this issue and actively participate in these discussions regarding the use of antimicrobials in food animals and the availability of these drugs. We want to get in from the ground up, as opposed to having to try to influence changes after the fact. We expect the steering committee members to be appointed by the Executive Board chair this spring. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 15, so if you have an interest in this critically important issue, please consider filing your application today.