Status report on FDA antiobiotics rules and regulations

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National Pork Board provides status report on the new FDA antibiotic rules and regulations and information about a webinar February 21


Don Wick


Dr. Dave Pyburn, VP Science & Technology, National Pork Board




Don Wick:  00:04  From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines Iowa, it’s Pork Pod.  Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry.  The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. This is Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff, and today our guest is Dr. Dave Pyburn, Vice President of Science and Technology for the National Pork Board.  And we’ve got a month or so under our belt with the new antibiotic rules.  Dave, can you give us an update, kind of a status report?  Where do we stand?


Dr Dave Pyburn:  00:33  Yeah, I think that what we’re seeing right now is that when we did our our survey of producers in November, which would have been right before we had the January 1 change of antibiotic usage on farm,  we took,  we asked the pig farmers “are you ready and are you ready to be fully compliant with the rule changes that are going to take place January 1?”. And we got a 95 percent yes to that. So that was pretty good. I wanted to see how January 1 is going to come and go and see how the whole month of January goes as folks start needing to use antibiotics for either prevention or treatment of disease in their barns. So now that we have the full month under our belt I would say that we’ve seen the results that we expected based on that survey and based on the fact that we’ve spent 18 months letting producers know and educating producers on this change that was coming.    We have had, we have a call center here, as you may know Don, and we take in calls from producers on any number of issues. We expected and had our call center folks fully ready with answers to the most common questions regarding this antibiotic change. And as of checking yesterday, that call center through the month of January had had three calls related to the antibiotic rule changes.  So it looks like our industry was ready to go with this well before January 1.


Don Wick:  01:51  Well it’s pretty gratifying.


Dr Dave Pyburn:  01:54  Yeah I think it’s great news!  It means that the Checkoff information that we’re getting out, that we did put out for that full 18 months prior to January 1,  was being received, being understood, and changes were happening at the farm level.


Don Wick:  02:07  Obviously things implemented well.  As we move forward, are there methods producers should be keeping in mind to make sure that they’re setting themselves up for success? Obviously with a little bit of change on how they’re doing things.


Dr Dave Pyburn:  02:22  Yeah. You know our big push really coming into January 1 was get that veterinary client patient relationship established, if you don’t have one. Identify your veterinarian, talk with them, determine what your plan is going to be come those January 1 changes that we’ve had. I think now that it’s fairly clear that our producers had that ready and in place.  So I think now what you can do is sit down with your veterinarian, sit down with others that manage pigs, manage your buildings for you, and start to devise ways and look at ways that you can reduce that need for antibiotics. Are there things that we need to do in the environment the pigs are in?  Are there nutritional things we need to do? Are there vaccine changes that we could make? What can we do now to reduce that need even further as we move past this January 1 date and the changes that we’ve seen within the industry.


Don Wick:  03:15  Has Pork Checkoff done research on some of those things that the producers can do?


Dr Dave Pyburn:  03:26  We have done, well, since the year 2000, we’ve spent nearly $6 million on antibiotic related research.  And that’s looking at everything from what’s the fate of antibiotics in the environment?  When is it the right time to look at population treatments versus individual animal treatments?  What are some alternatives to antibiotics?  In fact, before you called me today Don, I’m actually reading research proposals that the committee is going to meet on next week to look at some of those exact issues, one of which is, several of which are, alternatives to antibiotics. We’ve also done extensive research on the effectiveness of vaccines, the right timing of vaccines to prevent disease as well. So you have to Checkoff research for many decades actually has done research on all of those things.


Don Wick:  04:15  I see Pork Checkoff involved with a webinar coming up with National Hog Farmer later this month.


Dr Dave Pyburn:  04:18  That’s right! To continue on with making sure everybody is getting the message, making sure everybody understands what these changes are.  We are going to put on a webinar on how to succeed with the new antibiotic regulations.  That will be on February 21st at 1:00 Central Time. This webinar is intended for producers and any of our allied industry participants. It is just a one hour webinar and it will include Dr. Liz Wagstrom, who’s with the National Pork Producers Council, Dr. Harry Snelson with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and myself.  We’re going to cover again, just to make sure everybody has got the information and everybody knows what’s happened, we’re going to cover again the new antibiotic rules, how to comply with them on your farm, if you need help with that.  Especially pay attention to how do you establish a valid veterinary client patient relationship.   And then, too, we know that the FDA has done some on farm inspections related to these antibiotic changes that happened on January 1.  We want producers to know and be ready for these inspections so that they’re not a fearful thing when they occur.  That producers know they’re ready. They have their records in place.  They’re ready for these types of inspections.  So we’re going to go over that as well with producers.  The only other thing I would say, Don, is that you know we have this webinar and that’s a one time event.  But we always have pork dot org backslash antibiotics, our website.  And you’ll find all the newest information up there on these changes that have occurred, including a new frequently asked questions piece, that came straight from FDA through Iowa State University.


Don Wick:  05:51  Thanks to you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Porkcheck itself, visit