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Weekly Overview: Rules and More Rules - What Do They All Mean?

16 December 2013, at 11:08pm

ANALYSIS - Plans have been announced for a voluntary ban on antibiotics as growth promoters in the US, which are expected to lead to a deterioration in feed efficiency and overall more feed used, together with a 16 per cent reduction in antibiotics used in the pig sector, writes Jackie Linden. In the EU, agreement has been reached on the future labelling of most meats with their country of origin.

The proposed changes to the regulations on the use of antibiotics in the US for food-producing animals will mean a reduction of around 16 per cent in antibiotic use in pigs, an increase in feed conversion ratio, higher veterinary costs and a shift in the oversight for antibiotic use from farmers to veterinarians.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented a plan to help phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for food production purposes, such as to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency. The plan would also phase in veterinary oversight of the remaining appropriate therapeutic uses of such drugs.

In FDA's final guidance - issued last week - the agency lays out a road map for animal pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily revise the FDA-approved use conditions on the labels of these products to remove production indications.

The news that certain antimicrobial drugs are to be phased out as growth promoters in livestock means producers now have a time-frame to adjust production practices, commented professor of clinical sciences in Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, Mike Apley.

He estimates that, for pigs, the new rule will remove about 16 per cent of the use of medically important antibiotics in feed for growing pigs.

In their 'Hog Outlook', market analysts, Ron Plain and Scott Brown, highlight that the new policy is likely to affect adversely feed conversion and thus increase feed demand. It would also drive up per-head veterinary costs, they add, especially for smaller operations.

Also in the US, a group of farming organisations has launched an attack on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans for farmers and ranchers to report waste discharge information on-line.

After much negotiating, EU member states have agreed on the details for new rules related to original labelling for most meats. except for minced meat.

Once the European Commission formally approves the rules, they will be published and come into force from 1 April 2015.

Nebraska is the 20th US state to report finding the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus in pigs.

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