In order to demonstrate responsible use, British pig-keepers must now collate their annual use of antimicrobials, including in-feed, and demonstrate they have reviewed the figure with their vet.
From this October, any pig-keepers who cannot produce an accurate annual-use figure will receive a nonconformance from their Assured Food Standards assessor.
To make life easier for pig-keepers, the National Pig Association's (NPA) Allied Industry Group has been working behind the scenes with feed companies to ensure data for in-feed use is automatically mailed to each pig unit every six months.
Initial in-feed reports sent to pig units will be for July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.
Subsequently reports will be sent at six monthly intervals.
The industry's key compounders have already signed up to the scheme and Peter Rollings, who has been in charge of the project, is confident others will follow over the coming months.
Pig-keepers are responsible for compiling their own antibiotic annual-use figure, and from October will be penalised if they fail to do so, but the NPA In-Feed Reporting Scheme will make the task considerably less onerous.
Annual-use reporting for pigs was introduced by Assured Food Standards in October 2014 in response to considerable pressure on the sector to demonstrate responsible use of antibiotics.
Further measures will almost certainly be introduced by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in the months and years ahead and it is expected this will put increasing pressure on in-feed use.
However NPA argues that in-feed medication is more targeted than top-dressing—which is the preferred method in Germany and the Netherlands—and is markedly less likely to contribute to resistance in the human population.