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Poultry Industry Could See Some Transition with New FDA Guidances

Last week, FDA issued a guidance on non-therapeutic antibiotic use in livestock. Dr. Simon Shane, veterinarian in poultry medicine reiterates that this is not a ban:

“The FDA has created a program in which there will be voluntary restraint and greater regulation by veterinarians of the use of antibiotics in all livestock production.” 

As far as the impact on the poultry industry, Shane feels that of the three segments of the poultry industry, layer operations will be affected the least:

“It will affect different segments of our North Carolina industry in different ways. Firstly I do not believe that it will in any way impact the egg production industry, because the use of antibiotics in egg production is minimal and its usually confined to young birds during the rearing period, many weeks before they commence egg production.” 

As for the broiler industry:

“The biggest areas are the voluntary reduction in the use of antibiotics which are included in feed for the purpose of either, simulating growth or improving feed conversion, but more usually as a preventive measure.” 

And turkeys:

“There is greater use of antibiotics as a therapeutic measure in turkeys. This is very strictly controlled by veterinarians. Veterinarians affiliated to the turkey industry, especially those employed by those producing turkeys follow what is known as the FDA prudent use principles. Its important to remember that we as veterinarians are also consumers. We want to make sure the food chain is as clean and as free from infection and contaminants as possible. In addition, these drugs are expensive and we cannot afford to use them indiscriminately, because apart from them having a negligible effect, if they have been overused, the mere use of these drugs is expensive.” 

Shane is of the opinion that with these new guidances, there could be some early bumps in the road, but eventually the situation will smooth out:

“The fact that the USDA has not imposed a ban as they did in Europe, which had unfortunate complications, I believe that the FDA and our industry have learned from what happened in Europe and there will be a transition. But in the end I believe the industry will use more and more prebiotics and probiotics as additives. It has also heightened our concern for bio security, better ventilation and management of housing. We are making greater use of specific vaccines to control diseases.” 

Shane also recommends avoiding activist propaganda and studying the subject via reputable institution websites. Poultry Veterinarian, Dr. Simon Shane.


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