The National Pork Board is reacting today to the recent Ohio State University research paper detailing researchers’ discovery of an antibiotic-resistant gene in one swine farrowing barn.
An important takeaway from the study is that the U.S. pork supply is safe, according to the National Pork Board. The resistant gene identified in the study was not found in a market hog, and there was no threat to food safety.
As experts in swine production, the Pork Checkoff is eager to analyze the initial findings, alongside its authors, and better understand results of this report from this farm. Specifically, resistant gene samples were found in one barn, on one site without any confirmed indication of how the resistant gene got there.
OSU researchers acknowledge that it’s unknown how the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria was introduced to the facility and that it could have been introduced by an outside source. The conclusions drawn without further validation, replication and research demonstrate this issue requires additional study.
The fact that CRE was found in one area of the farm indicates that current internal biosecurity measures are effective. The U.S. pork industry supports efforts to monitor for the occurrence of this type of isolated incident. However, consistent with FDA and Pork Quality Assurance® Plus requirements, Ceftiofur should only be used in the treatment and control of disease with veterinarian oversight and direction.
Pig farmers in many states voluntarily participate in the Ohio State University’s Public Health Preparedness for Infectious Diseases Program. These producers take part in this research to better understand emerging disease issues.
The National Pork Board agrees that more studies be performed to validate and attempt to replicate the finding. The Checkoff looks forward to learning more about ongoing surveillance efforts that protect human and animal health.