January 02, 2017

(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey folks, Dr. Dan here. Thanks for joining me today on DocTalk. We’re going to have a great show, although you’re just stuck with me flying solo. We’re going to talk about something that you need to be talking about with your neighbors, community leaders, and that’s how good a job we do of using antimicrobials judiciously within the beef industry. Thanks for joining me this morning.

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(Dr. Dan) Hi there, folks. Welcome to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here from Kansas State University and today we’re going to talk about antibiotics. We’ve heard a lot of talk about the Veterinary Feed Directive. We’ve heard many times in the news about antimicrobial resistance or antibiotic resistance in the use of antibiotics in production animal medicine. We’ve also heard about antibiotic residues. What I thought today was, let’s take a step back. Let’s talk about the crucial issues. Let’s talk about continuing to get better within our industry. Let’s talk about the true relative risk of antimicrobial resistance and let’s talk about how we use antibiotics as a tool not only for Animal Health but also for human health. I’ve worked with many different retailer groups and one of the things that McDonald’s retail did is they did a survey on animal welfare. When they asked consumers on the street what animal welfare was, if they asked six different people they’d get six different answers. Nobody really truly knew what animal welfare was. But the one thing that came from those studies was that the typical consumer correlates a healthy food product comes from an animal that was healthy. So safe, wholesome food comes from healthy animals. Makes sense. Animals that are healthy are ones that have had good animal welfare or good animal husbandry. We understand that not all animals that receive good animal husbandry are not going to get sick. Some of them will get sick just like our children get sick. But understanding that the core value of the consumer, the core thought process of the consumer is that a healthy animal is one that is well taken care of and a healthy animal is one that that provides us a safe food product. We have to explain to the consumer that we don’t want to use antibiotics. When I use antibiotics in animal health programs, that means that animal was sick and we needed to treat it for the disease just like they would if I got sick or a got respiratory disease or some sort of bacterial infection. These are great tools that we have. With the VFD coming, one of the things that consumers really want to see is are we providing consistent and constant improvement in our systems. You can see that from the USDA, from the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, from FDA, from industry initiatives within the beef industry we have continued to get better and we’ll talk about that during the show today. What we want to focus on first in the next segment is, we’re going to talk about the relative risk of antimicrobial resistance. We’re going to talk about going in an industry from just having antimicrobial residue avoidance on our mind, to antimicrobial resistance avoidance on our mind. This is going to be a paradigm shift for our industry but we also need to understand that we have beef coming from other countries; and if the beef is coming from other countries, if the producers and veterinarians are not being held to the same standards as the consumers and regulation is being held in the United States, I think that’s an issue because they’re going into the meat counter side-by-side as the same product. We’ll talk about things that lead up to that, we’ll talk about traceability and much more but it’s time that we get real about the antimicrobial resistance issue in this country and antimicrobial regulation and its impact on the beef industry.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. We’re talking about antibiotic residue avoidance and antibiotic resistance avoidance in our beef cattle supply chain. One of the things that we have to understand is the One Beef Concept, and the One Beef Concept is understanding that if you own cattle on the hoof, if you own cattle in the feedyard, cow/calf operation, stocker, feedlot operation, if you are a packer that is processing cattle or slaughtering cattle, if you are a hamburger grinder or if you’re a retailer, or if you’re a consumer with beef in your refrigerator, your are part of the beef industry. We’re all part of the beef industry, trying to work together to provide a safe wholesome product for the end consumer. A lot of times we see retailers making decisions on antibiotics and making some snap judgments on something that might get them some market or some press at the point in time. One of the things we have to understand is that when it comes to our industry they say the greatest distance between two people is the last three feet; and the retailer is the last three feet of the beef industry to the consumer. Activists, such as animal rights activists or antibiotic activists or different lobbying groups, have agendas and interest to decrease the trust between the retailer…it used to be, decrease the trust between the consumer and the beef industry. The consumer trusts us, the consumer is, ninety-seven percent of Americans consume beef, we are on the same team. Now the trust is being eroded between the executives at the retailer’s with the farming industries. Stephen Covey Jr. just wrote a book about the speed of trust and in that book it says, “As trust decreases, the speed of business slows down and the cost of business goes up.” While activist groups that may have a hidden agenda of wanting us to not eat meat, what they’re trying to do is increase the cost of production by eroding that trust, increasing audits, increasing assessments, loss of technology. Without due diligence in making snap decisions to just get the activist off their back or to get themselves a first place in a market share just through marketing and getting in the in the different newspapers or news outlets. Understanding we really have…when it comes to antibiotic residue avoidance, when you look at FSIS’s data, 99.9% of market animals, whether its hogs, poultry, cattle, dairy cattle, when they go to slaughter do not have an antibiotic residue. 99.9%, that’s tremendous. The infrastructure that we have in this country of veterinarians and producers working together to avoid having antimicrobial residues, understanding the withdrawal system, understanding constant movement forward is tremendous. We all need to be thankful for everybody working together and when we come back, we’re going to talk about how the relative risk of resistance then – not residue, resistance – is calculated here in this country. It’s going to be a great show. Thanks for joining me this morning; I’ll be back after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, Dr. Dan here. Thanks for joining me this morning on DocTalk. I’m glad you’re back with us. Let’s talk about antimicrobial resistance. To get a resistant bacteria, basically the bacteria is exposed to an antibiotic, it becomes resistant to that antibiotic and then is transferred from the bovine to the human. For that to happen in the beef industry, we would have to have the first of all the three bacteria that we are concerned about: E. Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter. We’re talking about a food-borne pathogen. What is the relative risk just starting out of even having a food-borne pathogen in your beef product? Extremely low. We do more testing and removal in this industry than we ever have, we have such sophistication. The first relative risk is very little of having a food-borne pathogen. The next one is the bacteria: if it does make it through, has to be resistant to bacteria, which again, they’re resistant to antibiotics, which again is very, very low prevalence. When we think about the beef industry going from the feedlot to the packer to the processor to the retailer to the consumer, the relative risk of antimicrobial resistant bacteria going from a farm animal to a human being is very low. At the level of the feedlot we have the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, we have the FDA approval of products, we have the USDA ante-mortem inspection at the packing plant, we have USDA inspection and USDA testing and private testing of all meat products for foodborne pathogens. When it goes to the processor, we again have USDA inspection and testing, and then at the retail level you think, “Well there’s nothing going on there” – we have restaurant inspections to make sure the food is properly prepared. Let’s go to a country that potentially is importing beef or exporting beef to the United States: let’s go to Mexico, let’s think about Canada, think about Australia, let’s think about third-world or developed countries, such as China or India, where we don’t have veterinarian-client-patient relationships, we don’t have veterinarians, we don’t have FDA approval. We have many generic iterations of products being used. You can buy them off the street corner, there’s no FDA, there’s no USDA, there’s no regulation, but yet the retailers here in this country or the people in this country are saying, “We’re worried about antibiotic resistance” when we have the most regulation, the most sophistication, and we have a continuous improvement in our process. When you talk to the CDC and they talk about animals, the resistant antibiotics going from animals to humans, they say that in the peri-urban areas or the slums of third-world countries, where animals actually live with the people, and there’s no regulation and no veterinary oversight, that’s where the superbug could or would be the highest likelihood of being created. If we come back over to the United States and we correlate that to United States of where our greatest risk of antimicrobial resistance would be, of where animals are living with humans, it’d be our small animals or companion animals. But yet I’ve not heard anybody talk about antimicrobial resistance in small animal medicine. After Poochie goes and has an itchy tummy and we put it on a Cephalosporin at the veterinary clinic, send it home, it grooms itself, drinks out of the toilet, and then licks your child on the face. That’s a lot more direct transmission of antibiotic and higher risk than anything you are going to see from our food animal industries. When we come back, we are going to wrap up and talk a little bit more about these issues. I’m glad you joined me today.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, Dr. Dan here. Thanks for joining me. We’re tackling antibiotics, we’re talking about the real issues, we’re talking about the relative risk, and it’s important we get this message out. What the consumer really wants and what the consumer understands is we can’t eat the elephant in one bite. We can’t solve all problems of all industries or — I can’t even solve all the problems with my pickup at once. Right? We have to make strong strategy improvements and we’ve done that in the industry. The consumer wants us to just continuously try to get better every day, and we do that. Let’s start out in the 1980s. We started out with Beef Quality Assurance. Not only did that address the proper administration of our antimicrobials and address the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, but it also helped us with withdrawal times and preventing antimicrobial residues in the beef process. Then in the ’90s, we got AMDUCA, an extra-label drug use act. That really brought in that if you’re going to use an antibiotic that is not approved for beef cattle, you have to have extra documentation from your veterinarian and you have to maintain records. That was in the 1990s. The next part of our story is US FARAD, which is a food animal residue avoidance database. You can call 1-800-US-FARAD if you give an injection to an animal of any product, and they will within 24 hours get you the appropriate withdrawal times and let you know, and let a veterinarian know, when that animal is safe to ship. Great tool, great infrastructure, great story. Then in the late ’90s or early 2000s, we as an industry took a voluntary ban to never use aminoglycosides, or Gentamicin, to treat cattle because of the 18-month withdrawal time that that product has. Lastly, we now have the Veterinary Feed Directive coming forward, which is going to not allow antibiotics to be used for growth and feed efficiency, and you are going to have to have a prescription for feed grade antibiotics just like we do for injectables. When you look at our story in total to the consumer and how we’re tackling antibiotic resistance, judicious use of antimicrobials, we started out with Beef Quality Assurance in the ’80s, we went to AMDUCA and extra label drug use, we have US FARAD as a tool, we took a voluntary ban on aminoglycosides and now we have the Veterinary Feed Directive. It’s a great story; it’s been a lot of work. I commend the FDA; I commend the veterinary profession and beef producers for taking this on, to continue to move the bar forward to provide an even safer, more wholesome product, and more judicious use of antimicrobials. I hope that beef that’s being imported in the United States is held underneath the same scrutiny. Wouldn’t it be a shame, with the amount of money and taxpayers — this is not something that is just done to support the beef industry. This is something that’s done with taxpayer dollars, day in and day out, to provide a safe, consistent, wholesome food supply here in the United States. USDA and FDA, they should be out in front talking about how safe our food supply is. They should be talking about how good we’re doing at using judicious antimicrobial usage. And they should stop retailers from making false claims that food products that antibiotics aren’t used in are safer or more wholesome, because it’s just not true. When we start to think about this and we start to think about import markets, and we start to think about niche markets that are making claims against the conventional beef production that are false, I have a big issue with that. Because we come to work every day to support the beef producers, the veterinarians, and more importantly the consumers so they can afford to continue to put protein on the table for our young children here in the United States of America. Thanks for watching DocTalk this morning. Remember, you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. Always work with your local veterinarian. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson; I’m a little bit passionate about this subject. Thanks for watching us this morning and I’ll see you down the road.

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