SeaFood Business

MAR 2014

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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Page 32 of 90

Top Story Antibiotics, given via feed, are in the Food and Drug Adminstration spotlight. Photo by Laura Lee Dobson Prescription for success BY JAMES WRIGHT F ood-animal producers have a formidable foe, one that's everywhere they look yet too small to see. Bacteria, the most abundant biomass on Earth, serve many essential functions for the existence of life. But staying ahead of harmful, illness-causing microorganisms has long been a challenge for farmers both on land and sea, and it may get tougher now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants fewer antibiotics to enter the food supply. anything but voluntary. Producers must administer antibiotics, most commonly through feed, strictly accord- ing to the directions on the label. Domestically, it must be done under the supervi- sion of a veterinarian. "Drug-resistance concerns are driven by drug-use prac- tices upstream," says Wil- liam Flynn, deputy direc- tor for science policy at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, adding that full implementation is expected by 2017. "We consider aqua- culture as producing food animals, just like cattle, pigs and poultry. Tere are difer- ences and commonalities." While fsh has barely been mentioned in the growing global discussion about an- tibiotic use, it's important to remember that aquaculture produces roughly half of the world's seafood supply, and antibiotics play a key role in protecting crops and producers' economic viabil- ity. Commercial-scale fnfsh aquaculture would struggle without veterinary drugs, al- though there are exceptions where little to no antibiotics or other chemicals are em- ployed (see chart, page 32). Te good news is that con- sumption of farmed seafood poses little risk regarding exposure to veterinary drug residues. Tat's due to con- stantly improving practices on the water, according to one of seafood's toughest critics, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Ca- lif. Strict limits on antibiot- ics, or even bans on certain types — both of which could happen in the future — aren't likely to bring seafood supplies to a screeching halt. "Aquaculture has bet- ter [drug] management 28 SeaFood Business March 2014 Visit us online at FDA's efforts to restrict antibiotics in food animals don't stop at the shoreline Acknowledging that hu- mans may build resistance to medically important drugs that are also being adminis- tered to animals, the food- safety agency in December launched an initiative to curtail veterinary drug use, starting with the manufac- turers. While the FDA asked for their voluntary participa- tion, and is thus far getting it, the usage of veterinary drugs on farms — both ter- restrial and aquatic — is 28_33TopStory.indd 28 2/18/14 2:08 PM

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