The USDA on Thursday released results of two studies that examine antimicrobial use on beef feedlots and on large swine operations during 2016.
The majority of antibiotics that are medically important for humans are for use on livestock and poultry. The most commonly known antimicrobials are antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, which are used to kill bacteria, and are critically important for the treatment of Salmonella infections. But not all antimicrobials are antibiotics. For example, other forms of antimicrobials are antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics.
The studies’ results showed that 87.5 percent of feedlots gave cattle antimicrobials in feed, water, or by injection in 2016; and that 95.5 percent of swine sites gave market pigs antimicrobials in feed, water, or by injection in 2016.
The agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said the data provides a baseline for how livestock producers used antimicrobials prior to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule change in January 2017, which eliminated the use of “medically important” antimicrobials – ones that are used for human health – for growth promotion in food-producing animals.
The studies include details on what antimicrobials were used, why they were used and how they were administered. They also include data on record keeping, decision making and veterinarian involvement.