Red Tractor to change Antibiotics Standards

CHANgeS to Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) standards will mean that, from June 1 2018, certain Critically Important Antibiotics (CIAs) can only be used as a last resort on farm.

Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) standards relating to on-farm medicine usage were reviewed in 2017. Following this review, all RTA farms have been required to undertake an annual review of antibiotics with their vet using medicines records or prescription data to outline total antibiotics use.

As part of this review, it was also recommended that the person responsible for handling and administering antibiotics undertakes a training course using an existing provider such as MilkSure or Lantra.

The number of classes of antibiotics remains limited and there is a need to protect critically important antibiotics that can be used in both livestock and humans.

From June 1 2018, the use of CIAs must only occur as a last resort and their use is only allowed under the direction of a vet. The drugs which are classified as CIAs are defined by the european Medicines Agency (eMB) depending upon their risk to human health should antimicrobial resistance develop following their use in animals.

The eMB have categorised CIAs as either ‘low/limited risk’ or ‘higher risk’. Antibiotics which fall under the low risk category can still be used in accordance with the general principles of responsible drug use.

The current definition of higher risk antibiotics are 3rd or 4th generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and colistin. In order for use as a last resort, the farm vet must provide sensitivity and diagnostic testing to back up their use.

The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Targets task Force will focus on these groups of drugs when it reports on goals for reducing antibiotic use in each sector later this year and the FUW will keep its membership updated accordingly.

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