Canada Joins Phase Out of Medically-Important Antimicrobials as Growth Promotants

To mark Antibiotic Awareness Week,  The Lancet published an editorial last November entitled Antibiotic resistance—the need for global solutions. In it, the twenty-six contributors addressed the need to move on from “blame and shame” and collaborate on the growing issue of antimicrobial resistance. RealAgriculture published an article shortly thereafter to summarize the points made in the editorial, focusing on the suggestions for the livestock sector.

Well, we’re back, with news from Health Canada on the Veterinary Drugs Directorate’s (VDD) evolving efforts to “promote the judicious use of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in food animal production.” Just as The Lancet article so pleaded, it seems we are moving on.

In a Notice to Stakeholders published last week, VDD’s director general Daniel Chaput stated:

As part of these ongoing efforts, we are now moving forward, in collaboration with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), to work with other implicated stakeholders on the following two key measures:

  • Removal of growth promotion and/or production claims of medically-important antimicrobial drugs
  • Development of options to strengthen the veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in food animals.

The Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) will be working with VDD to align policies with those by the Food and Drug Association (FDA), which issued a voluntary plan to phase out certain drugs for enhanced animal production in December.

“We need to be selective about the drugs we use in animals and when we use them,” said William Flynn, deputy director for science policy at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), in an update published for consumers. “Antimicrobial resistance may not be completely preventable, but we need to do what we can to slow it down.”

The phasing out of medically-important antimicrobial drugs for growth promotion and production claims is hoped to occur over the next three years.

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