Friday, March 11, 2016

Report: Awareness low among farmers and vets about FDA regulations on antibiotics in animals

Many livestock producers, economists, government agency staff and representatives from livestock, veterinary and feed industry organizations are unfamiliar with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations concerning antibiotics in food-producing animals, according to a report from Farm Foundation. The report was based on information gathered from 12 workshops, attended by more than 180 people, held across the country last year.

"A lack of knowledge about new policy requirements on the use of antimicrobial drugs in food animals, as well access to veterinary services are critical barriers to the successful implementation of these federal policies," states a Farm Foundation press release. Foundation President Neil Conklin said, "Despite months of work by organizations, agencies and media outlets, many stakeholders lack a full understanding of the policies that have been put in place by the Food and Drug Administration. This lack of knowledge is a critical barrier to successful implementation of the policies, which take full effect at the end of 2016."
On a scale of 1 to 10, respondents ranked their awareness of FDA's Guidance for Industry (GFI) at 5.7 and its Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) at 5.8, states the report. Feed suppliers were the most familiar with both regulations, averaging 6.7 for GFIs and 7.5 for VFDs. Producers only averaged 4.55 and veterinarians 6.27. The highest level of awareness for both regulations was in the Northeast.

"Less than half of workshop participants were clear about their responsibilities under the VFD rule; however, 80 percent of the online survey respondents indicated that they understood the GFIs after being provided with information about the content," states the report. "When asked to identify the greatest barriers to compliance, online survey participants ranked the lack of education at the top of the list. The most common source of information and education is the Internet."

"Although many producers see their veterinarian as a go-to resource, many veterinarians are not aware of the impending changes and have questions themselves," states the report. "Discussion in the workshops pinpointed the lack of a responsible party delivering a clear, comprehensive and consistent educational message. When asked to describe the impact of the GFI and VFD rules on their day-to-day business, the second most frequently mentioned response of producers and veterinarians was a need for education," with 19 percent choosing that response. (Read more)

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