New Red Tractor antibiotic rules outlined

Standards affecting the use and recording of antibiotics are being bolstered across all Red Tractor Assurance livestock sectors this October, supporting the UK farming industry’s commitment to play its part in tackling antimicrobial resistance. Here’s a summary of what’s changing.

Beef and lamb: Animal medicines

A recommendation has been added that the highest priority critically important antibiotics (Colistin, third and fourth generation Cephalosporins, Fluoroquinolones) are only used as a last resort under veterinary direction. For farm to farm sales, animals under statutory withdrawal periods for medicines must be accompanied by a withdrawal period declaration.

Dairy: Documented medicine records

Medicine records must provide an annual collation of total antibiotic used for the unit either by a vet from prescription data or completed by a farmer from medicine records. An annual review of antibiotics used must be undertaken by a vet. For farm-to-farm sales, animals under statutory withdrawal periods for medicines must be accompanied by a withdrawal period declaration.

Poultry: Antibiotics

Broiler producers must only use antibiotics to treat a problem and total antibiotic use should now be recorded in mg/PCU*. The use of third and fourth generation Cephalosporins, Glycopeptides and Colistin are not permitted, but Macrolides and Fluoroquinolones are allowed if backed up by a vet and with written permission from the company purchasing the birds.

Pigs: Responsible use of medicines

In addition to the new requirement that all antibiotic use is recorded on the national e-Medicines Book, vets are required to sign a quarterly declaration to confirm they are prescribing antibiotics in accordance with the PVS Prescribing Principles for Antimicrobials. Use of antibiotics classified as Class 3 (products of last resort, namely Colistin, third and fourth generation Cephalosporins and Fluoroquinolones) must be justified in the veterinary health plan.

*PCU = Production Corrected Unit, calculated to provide a common comparative unit for each livestock sector.

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