Antibiotic Withdrawal Period In Pork Production: Its Financial And Health Implications

The pork industry has the important responsibility of providing safe and high-quality meat and meat products to consumers. Considering the fragility of consumer trust, hog farmers should walk the extra mile to make sure that pork and pork products are free of antibiotics when marketed. With government regulations in place, pork producers can be slapped with hefty fines and increased scrutiny if antibiotic residues are present in their finished products.  

Managing antibiotic withdrawal periods primarily takes place at the farm level. Here are some solutions that pork producers should take into account to avoid having to deal with the financial and health implications of the issue. 

Posting signs around the barn

Signs highlighting withdrawal times for antibiotics that are used on location should be posted on all entry points of the barns. Antibiotics with longer withdrawal times should be listed at the top and those with shorter withdrawal times at the bottom. Antibiotics with similar withdrawal times should be listed in the same group. The signage should have a  straightforward, easy-to- read language to eliminate any possible confusion about when certain antibiotic use is proper or improper.

It is also a good idea to place signage in areas where employees or managers congregate and/or spend most of their time to serve as a physical reminder for antibiotic withdrawal times. 

Veterinarian-related responsibilities

The second layer of precaution is to have veterinarians schedule their site visits in conjunction with antibiotic withdrawal times. The veterinarian can also take the antibiotics with longer withdrawal times off-site or lock them in a box on-site with the sole key in the veterinarian’s possession. Doing so eliminates any possibility of administering antibiotics beyond the withdrawal period which could result in antibiotic residues in the meat at market time. This approach entails a more hands-on approach for the veterinarian. However, if antibiotic withdrawal times remain to be a problem on the farm, there is a  need to educate staff on antibiotic usage and the importance of observing withdrawal periods. 

Software Solutions

The third precautionary measure is to use existing software solutions to avoid violating antibiotic withdrawal periods. EveryPig has two options to help with antibiotic withdrawals. 

  • Auto mentions

The software is designed to notify individuals about antibiotic use within a given production system. This program allows another set of eyes to view antibiotic usage and ensure there are no residues within the carcass that violate existing regulations.  Know more about how to create auto mentions for withdrawal warnings here.

  • Withdrawal warnings for caregivers

When activated, the app provides a date when pigs can be marketed based on antibiotic usage and appropriate withdrawal periods. This feature helps ensure that there is no confusion as to when pigs are ready for market. Check out this link for more information on how to manage withdrawal warnings.

As more consumers become more informed about the quality and wholesomeness of pork and pork products reaching their table, there has been a consequent increase in the level of interest in antibiotic use in the pork industry as well as the potential effects on the health and well-being of humans. 

The need for pork producers to adopt a strict policy that is designed to limit the use of antibiotics in pigs is now more important than ever. Antibiotic resistance is an increasing global public health issue for both pork production systems and human medicine.  Pork producers should keep abreast of the latest government policies regarding the use of antibiotics and antibiotic residues in meat. Failure to observe and adhere to a specific antibiotic withdrawal period can mean extremely heavy fines and possibly certain regulatory sanctions. Taking appropriate steps to decrease the need for antibiotic application, the responsible use of antibiotics in daily operations, and embracing industry-specific technology like EveryPig can help ensure the sustainability of the business while safeguarding customer health and safety.

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