National Beef Antimicrobial Research Strategy developed to drive solutions

News Release
May 9, 2016

Calgary, AB – As concerns grow about the continued effectiveness of antimicrobials in human health and questions arise about the contribution of modern beef production to antimicrobial resistance in human medicine, the beef industry is increasingly pressured to reconsider its methods of combatting harmful bacteria in cattle. Research will play a critical role in the industry’s ability to reduce medically-important antimicrobial use and to develop, identify and implement effective, responsible alternatives to antimicrobials.

“There’s no doubt antimicrobial resistance, use and their alternatives are a high priority in terms of policy, research, and regulations,” said Tim Oleksyn, a cow-calf producer from Shellbrook, Saskatchewan and Chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC).  “It is important for the industry to have a comprehensive strategy with clearly defined outcomes to ensure every research dollar helps make progress in addressing human health and public confidence concerns, while also ensuring animal welfare and industry sustainability are maintained.”

Due to the importance and priority placed on antimicrobial resistance and use, funding of Continue reading

Antimicrobial use and resistance in beef cattle: what producers need to know; Webinar March 2

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm

In Canada, surveillance indicates that antimicrobial resistance levels in cattle and beef are extremely low and have not increased over time.

Join this free webinar to learn more about why resistance is low, and what precautions beef producer can take to continue this trend.

When


Wednesday March 2 at 7pm MST

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB
  • 8:00pm in SK and MB
  • 9:00pm in ON and QC
  • 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI 

Watching on a tablet or mobile device?

If you plan to join the webinar using Continue reading

Evaluating the potential contribution of beef cattle to antimicrobial resistance


AMR fact sheet
Increasing public concern regarding antimicrobial use (AMU) and resistance (AMR) in livestock is leading to increased pressure on livestock producers, veterinarians, industry groups, processors, foodservice companies and governments to address these concerns. Science-based, epidemiologically sound research is critical for sound industry policy and communication, legislation, and educated consumer choices.

Research currently underway and funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster will provide insights into the relationships between AMU in feedlot cattle, the nature of AMR bacteria in cattle, and the possible spread of pathogens and AMR bacteria in Continue reading

Conjugal Visits

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.


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The federal government’s CIPARS program studies E. coli in healthy cattle entering packing plants and in retail ground beef. Their surveillance shows that resistance to antimicrobials of the highest importance in human health continues to be very rare in these samples, and multi-drug resistant bacteria are even less common. The risk of consumers being exposed to antimicrobial resistant bacteria through exposure to healthy cattle or beef is extremely remote.

But antimicrobial resistance does occur, and can cause real problems in feedlots. Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the leading Continue reading

Consumer MisReports

Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center released its “Beef Report” on August 25. A number of questions, concerns and criticisms have been raised by the North American Meat Institute, the International Food Information Council, Business Insider, and others. Rather than answer the specific questions raised, Consumer Reports has encouraged people to read the report more closely.


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Unfortunately, reading the report more closely simply raises more questions about the expertise and/or integrity of Consumer Reports and its “policy and action arm,” Consumers Union.

Here’s one example.

The Danger of Superbugs” heads a section on Page 10 and 11 detailing the health hazards posed by Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STECs, like E. coli O157). This directly implies that antimicrobial resistance will make STEC infections more difficult to treat. This is not true.

Antibiotics are not used to treat STEC infections in people. Instead, Continue reading

Are Ionophores a Risk for Antimicrobial Resistance?

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.



Last month’s column talked about Health Canada’s initiative to phase out growth promotion claims for medically important antibiotics by December 2016. This will impact three antibiotics (tetracycline, sulfamethazine and neomycin) that have growth promotion claims in beef cattle in Canada. It will not affect ionophore antibiotics like Rumensin, Bovatec, or Posistac. Ionophores are used widely in in beef production because they reduce methane production, allow the rumen to use feed energy and protein more efficiently, reduce the risk of bloat, acidosis and liver abscesses, and help prevent coccidiosis. Ionophores are not used in human medicine, so they are not considered to be medically important. They are also not a concern from an antimicrobial resistance perspective. Here’s why.

Ionophores have a very unique way of killing bacteria. The rumen has a Continue reading

Do antimicrobial growth promoters really improve performance, or just improve health?

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.


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Ionophores (Rumensin, Bovatec, Posistac) are not medically important because the ionophores approved for use in cattle are not used in human medicine. Other antimicrobials used in livestock are medically important. Concerns around antimicrobial resistance in both human and veterinary medicine have led to increased scrutiny regarding how medically important antimicrobials are used in livestock production. In response, pharmaceutical companies throughout North America are removing production claims (i.e. growth and feed efficiency) from products containing medically important antimicrobials. Some of these products also have health claims, but four Canadian products only have production claims (two Aureo S-700G products, Chlor S-700, and Neo-Terramycin). These products may disappear unless the companies pursue new health-related label claims.

But do medically important antimicrobials really promote growth? Or do they just keep calves healthy, which grow better than sick calves? Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s Dr. Kim Stanford led a research project Continue reading

New video: What beef producers need to know about antimicrobial use and resistance


Click to play video
There’s no avoiding the topics of antimicrobial use (AMU) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) these days.

We often see headlines like “Agricultural folly spawns superbugs”, “Antibiotic Resistance Declared A ‘Serious Health Threat’ By CDC As Use In Meat Industry Skyrockets”, and “Doctors call for ban of antibiotic use in farm animals as drug-resistant human infections hit ‘dangerous level’” in the mainstream media. Headlines like that are alarming for most of us – consumers, government officials, and people who make a living raising livestock.

Flip through your favorite industry publication and you’re bound to find Continue reading

Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance



This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

The World Health Organization’s “Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance” was released this spring. The WHO’s report was quite comprehensive and well-balanced, compared to much of the media attention that regularly swirls around this issue.

Antimicrobial use leads to increased antimicrobial resistance in bacteria. The misuse or overuse of antimicrobials in human or animal medicine increases the speed with which antimicrobial resistance develops. An added concern is that pharmaceutical companies have not released any new antibacterial drugs since 1987. If antimicrobial resistance continues to increase, Continue reading

Trends in consumer perceptions about beef

This Country Called Agriculture, a television show focused on agribusiness topics in Canada, recently aired an episode focused on trends in consumer perceptions about beef.  Host Rob Eirich interviewed BCRC’s Science Director Dr. Reynold Bergen on a number of issues related to the production and food safety of Canadian beef.

The first of four segments responds to common perceptions about the food safety and nutrition of beef, and begins a discussion about antibiotic use in cattle. Continue reading