Date of this Version
Cornhusker Economics, March 31, 2021
There has been growing consumer and human medical profession concern about the use of “Shared Use/Medically Important” antimicrobials in food-animal production. The concern partially stems from the concern that livestock and poultry fed antimicrobials can develop resistant bacteria which can then be passed on to humans primarily via consumed meat and poultry products. To curtail this real or hypothetical consumer concern, major restaurants, food service companies, food processors, and supermarkets have pledged to reduce or eliminate meat and poultry that were raised with a non-negative quantity of antimicrobials. For example, Wendy’s© pledged that 50% of procured beef would come from sustainable sources by 2022. In 2020, they reported that already over 40% of beef entering their supply chain was raised following strict animal welfare and sustainability standards. In 2014, Chick-fil-A© pledged that all chicken served in their restaurants would be raised under a No Antibiotics Ever program by the end of 2019 – a goal that was met in May 2019. Other companies have already made similar pledges/changes for beef, pork, and chicken. Over the last 10 years the federal government, private industry, and third-party verification programs have begun to monitor the sales and use of antimicrobials along the supply chain. This article briefly reviews who is con-ducting the monitoring efforts and what are some of the preliminary trends on the sales and use of antimicrobials in the U.S. food-animal production.