On Dec. 11, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced important steps to ensure the judicious use of antibiotics in food animals as one approach to addressing antimicrobial resistance in human medicine.

In an effort to clarify what this ruling means to livestock producers and other industry professionals, members of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois will offer a webinar to address the new rules on Jan. 28 from noon to 1 p.m.

The discussion will cover what the new steps mean to the livestock industry, what they don’t mean, and how producers and others should respond. The webinar will be presented by professor emeritus James Pettigrew and professor Hans Stein.

“This announcement is not a surprise; it has been anticipated for several months,” Pettigrew says.

Pettigrew explains that while the FDA’s approach to antibiotic use in food animals had been published previously, the new documents issued this month describe the implementation of that approach.

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“The documents address only those antibiotics considered important in human medicine, which are all of them except the widely-used ionophores and a few others,” Pettigrew says. “The new rules apply only to antibiotics used in feed or drinking water.”

The core of the FDA’s approach includes:

  1. No use of these antibiotics for production purposes (to improve growth rate or feed efficiency).
  1. All uses of these antibiotics must be under veterinary oversight.
  1. Disease prevention is specifically recognized as an approved judicious use of antibiotics.

To register for the free webinar go to http://go.illinois.edu/antibiotics.