This week, the FDA held the third of five public meetings on proposed rules for veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in food animals. The meeting included background presentations on the proposed rules, followed by a public comment period. The Animal Health Institute, representing manufacturers of animal-health products, issued the following statement:

“The Animal Health Institute and its members place great emphasis on the role of the veterinarian in the use of animal medicines. Specifically, we encourage all producers to work with a veterinarian when making decisions about the use of antibiotics to keep food animals healthy whether administered directly to the animal or through feed or water. The careful, judicious use of antibiotics to address animal disease and disease threats to keep food animals healthy is an important link in the food safety chain. Healthy animals produce safe and healthful food.

“We support FDA’s policy of phasing in Veterinary Feed Directives for all medically important antibiotics used in food animals while also working to phase-out growth promotion uses of these products. This is a significant change in the way antibiotics will be regulated and used, and we commend both the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for holding this listening session and working with farmers to ensure the transition is smooth as possible.

“Once fully implemented, FDA’s policy will ensure that all medically important antibiotics will be used only for therapeutic or targeted purposes under the supervision of a veterinarian. We will continue to work with FDA, farmers and veterinarians to implement this policy as seamlessly as possible.”