Navigating Concerns and Solutions
With alarming predictions on what antibiotic resistance could do to people’s health and livelihood, the poultry industry is taking steps to reduce antibiotic use in animal feed. Many companies and farms have successfully switched to antibiotic-free production or antibiotic reduction in recent years. This shows that alternatives to antibiotics are available to help producers maintain their businesses ( Feed Additive Magazine ).
The use of antibiotics in poultry feed raises significant concerns due to its potential consequences. One major worry is the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. When antibiotics are regularly administered to poultry, bacteria in their systems can become resistant, rendering these antibiotics less effective in treating infections in both animals and humans. This creates a public health risk as these resistant bacteria can be transmitted to humans through contaminated food, direct contact, or the environment.
Additionally, antibiotic-resistant genes can be transferred from animals to humans, amplifying the global pool of resistance. The presence of antibiotic residues in poultry products poses food safety concerns. If consumed, these residues can potentially contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans. Antibiotics in poultry waste can also find their way into the environment, promoting the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in natural systems.
The excessive use of antibiotics can erode the efficacy of these drugs, leading to difficulties in treating infections. This can impact both animal health and human medicine. International trade can be affected due to differing residue standards in various countries, leading to trade disputes. Consumers’ growing awareness of antibiotic-related risks has led to demands for antibiotic-free or reduced-antibiotic poultry products. To address these concerns, regulations are being enacted to curb unnecessary antibiotic use, promote alternatives, and safeguard public health.
Currently, the main uses of antibiotics in poultry productions are to treat disease, prevent disease or promote growth. The first use must exclude medically important antibiotics for humans in many countries now. The second and third uses are being increasingly restricted, as shown in the timeline below. Denmark is a pioneer in this area and has established creative ways of following up on regulations. For example, Denmark’s government introduced a card system to name and shame drug abusers. This is done by listing the top veterinarians and farms by drug usage, then visiting those farms to ask why they are using so much ( Feed Additive Magazine ).
Feed Additive Magazine
With other countries following suit and creating their own rules, the focus on reducing antibiotic use in feed continues to grow globally. Many producers, retailers and restaurant chains have developed ABF food products and menu items to respond to consumer demand ( Feed Additive Magazine ).
Food companies are actively working to eliminate or minimize antibiotic usage in their products to align with consumer preferences, protect public health, adhere to regulations, and demonstrate commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. This strategic approach benefits their reputation, competitiveness, and the well-being of consumers and the broader community.
XVET NAGP Approach
Non-Antibiotic Growth Promoters (NAGPs) are the tool to fight antimicrobial resistance. A concern for antibiotic-resistant organisms in Humans as a result of the overuse of Antibiotics in livestock has been increasing especially because the antibiotic treatments can have a direct effect on human health. Following our mission to contribute to a safe and sustainable agriculture and improve the health of both animals and human we want to highlight our ideology and NAGP product range so that together we can create a better tomorrow.
- Feed & Additive Magazine – International Magazine, The future of antibiotics in poultry feed, https://www.feedandadditive.com/the-future-of-antibiotics-in-poultry-feed/
- The Use of Drugs in Food Animals: Benefits and Risks, National Research Council (US) Committee on Drug Use in Food Animals. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1999.
- Cultivated meat as a tool for fighting antimicrobial resistance, Eileen McNamara & Claire Bomkamp Nature Food volume 3, pages791–794 (2022)
- An alternative for antibiotic se in poultry: probiotics, North Caroline State University, https://www.scielo.br/j/rbca/a/sMnRc5RQdtJvbWP5KvtRzVf/
- The application of antibiotics in broiler production and the resulting antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli: A global overview, Poult Sci. 2019 Apr; 98(4): 1791–1804