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  Home > Applied Research and Outcomes > Implications of antimicrobial use in pork production

Implications of antimicrobial use in pork production

The objectives of the research project are to critically appraise the literature on antimicrobial use in pork production to determine strength of evidence that long term use of specific levels of specific antimicrobial compounds in feed contributes greater risk to public health than other food animal antimicrobial uses, and define the implications for the industry to guide industry policy and programming on appropriate antimicrobial usage.

Rather than conducting animal experiments, this project synthesizes relevant published research and analyzes its validity and appropriateness for industry decision making. The review selectively focuses on published research cited by influential reports and groups advocating the abolition of growth prominent usage because of concerns with resistance.

The basis of the research stems from the importance of antimicrobials as tools for ensuring the health, welfare and productivity of pigs raised for food. Banning of antimicrobial growth promotant use in Denmark caused increased pig disease and mortality. This demonstrated that even though these antimicrobials were considered to be growth promotants, a vital purpose of their use was for disease prevention. Consequently, cost of production increased following the ban and many producers exited the industry. If certain antimicrobial uses are restricted in the United States it is likely that similar health and production impacts would be experienced.

The ultimate products of this project – the critical appraisal of the commonly cited literature; the identification and review of the other pertinent literature; the assessment of the accuracy of citations and conclusions; and the expert review commentary on the ranking/public health and industry impact of the data - will provide the pork industry valuable information for strategic planning in addressing concerns over antimicrobial use in pork production.


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