The White House hosted the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship, attended by more than 150 involved actors.
The effort to raise awareness and take reducing the antibiotic use and antibiotic-resistant bacteria one notch up was, according to the attendees, a success.
In March 2015, the Obama administration had already launched in preparation for further steps to be taken the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.
This specific plan looked at the most effective actions and preventive measures that could be implemented by both federal departments and agencies in order to increase the efficiency of diagnosis and treatment, as well as to curb the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The latter alone is responsible for two million infections and 23,000 death yearly in the United States, according to the estimates of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With the occasion of the forum, the problems posed by antibiotics overuse was brought back to the table. President Obama found himself in the company of food producers, representatives of restaurant chains and hospitals, as well as civil society and medical societies, among many others.
Together they discussed antibiotic resistance, as well as responsible use of these drugs. A five-year plan was developed along the way to pinpoint commitment made to the implementation of changes so much needed in order to curb the spring of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
One of the sectors that received increased attention was that of meat and poultry in connection to responsible antibiotic use. President Obama signed a memorandum that instructs the federal agencies to curb the use of antibiotics in their respective industry and produce healthier, safer meat and poultry.
In addition, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it will soon release the amended Veterinary Feed Directive which is yet another effort to promote the responsible use of medically relevant antibiotics by food producers.
For the meat and poultry producers it is crucial that the feed-use antibiotics are purchased and administered under the supervision of veterinarians.
If it is needed at all that they use antibiotics in their stocks food supply. To this extent pressure exerted by consumers who are increasingly demanding antibiotic free produce seems to be leading things in the right direction.
The press release of the White House briefing room reads:
“Major stakeholders have already taken action or are committing to voluntarily phase out the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion, only accepting product from suppliers that have stopped the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion, or funding research for alternatives and instituting a company-wide policy to eliminate all medically-important antibiotics by a target date”.
The coordinated effort that was evident during the forum is the largest known to be undertaken by a presidential administration. It is commendable that more attention is being paid to the general health of both livestock and humans, as the two are interconnected.
We are what we eat. And the Obama administration is starting to curb the bad habits from the top, with the presidential Food Service having already began to serve meat and poultry grown according to responsible important antibiotic use guidelines.
However, the issue of irresponsible antibiotic use is not restricted to the meat and poultry industry.
To this extent all 150 actors pledged commitments that can be explored in depth on the website of the White House Briefing Room.
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