U.S. Poultry & Egg Association announces the release of the U.S. poultry industry’s first-ever report quantifying antimicrobial use on broiler chicken and turkey farms. The new
report shows dramatic reductions of turkey and broiler chicken antimicrobial use over a five-year timeframe. As part of its commitment to the transparency and sustainability of a safe food supply, the
poultry industry aims to strike a balance between keeping poultry flocks healthy and the responsible use of antimicrobials, especially those medically important to human health.
Under the research direction of Dr. Randall Singer, DVM, PhD, of Mindwalk Consulting Group, LLC, this report represents a five-year set of data collected from 2013 to 2017 regarding the use of
antimicrobials in U.S. broiler chickens and turkeys throughout their lifetime, from hatchery to day of harvest. It was prepared through a systematic collection of on-farm antimicrobial use data to capture the
disease indications and routes of administration through which antimicrobials were given to the poultry.
Given several key differences among broiler chickens and turkeys – namely differences in weight, life span, susceptibility to lifetime illness and the number of effective medical therapies available – the data
from broiler chickens and turkeys should neither be combined nor compared.
Key changes among broiler chickens over the five-year period show:
- Broiler chickens receiving antimicrobials in the hatchery decreased from 93% to 17%
- Hatchery gentamicin use decreased approximately 74%
- Medically important in-feed antimicrobial use in broiler chickens decreased by as much as 95%.
For example: tetracycline 95%, virginiamycin 60%
- Medically important water-soluble antimicrobial use in broiler chickens decreased by as much as 72%. For example: penicillin 21%, tetracycline 47%, sulfonamide 72%
- There was a documented shift to the use of antimicrobial drugs that are not considered medically important to humans (e.g., avilamycin and bacitracin BMD)
Key changes among turkeys over the five-year period show:
- Turkeys receiving antimicrobials in the hatchery decreased from 96% to 41%
- Hatchery gentamicin use decreased approximately 42%
- Medically important in-feed antimicrobial use in turkeys decreased: tetracycline 67%
- Medically important water-soluble antimicrobial use decreased substantially. For example: penicillin 42%, tetracycline 28%, lincomycin 46%, neomycin 49%, erythromycin 65%
Antimicrobial use among broiler chickens and turkeys decreased dramatically between 2013 and 2017, and there are a couple of key explanations for this:
- Changes in FDA regulations, which were fully implemented in January 2017, effectively eliminated the use of medically important antimicrobials for production purposes and placed all
medically important antimicrobials administered in the feed or water of poultry under veterinary supervision
- A continued focus by poultry companies on disease prevention, thereby reducing the need for antimicrobials
- Improved record-keeping of all antimicrobial administrations, which is a key component of antimicrobial stewardship
Furthermore, the broiler chicken and turkey industries have increased the production of animals raised without antimicrobials.
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