Launched in 2012, CFC’s Responsible Antimicrobial Use (AMU) Strategy continues to support the responsible use of antimicrobials that have been approved by the Veterinary Drugs Directorate of Health Canada.
CFC’s Responsible AMU Strategy has been founded on the key elements of reduction, surveillance, stewardship, research and innovation to meet consumer expectations, to protect the health and welfare of birds, and to preserve effective treatment options.
The Responsible AMU Strategy has resulted in the Canadian chicken sector taking major steps in antibiotic reduction, specifically with the removal of the preventive use of Category I antimicrobials (those considered most important to human health) in 2014, followed by the removal of the preventive use of Category II antimicrobials at the end of 2018.
The success of these initiatives has been demonstrated through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s surveillance program – the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS). CIPARS has demonstrated an elimination of preventive use and has pointed to the chicken sector’s AMU strategy as a major factor for reduced antimicrobial resistance in targeted bacteria.
The success of the Responsible AMU Strategy has been based on taking a pragmatic approach to ensure animal welfare and sustainability.
Building on the elimination of the preventive use of Category I and II, CFC will now be focusing on a non-regulatory approach to further reducing antimicrobial use, with specific attention on reducing the preventive use of Category III antimicrobials.
The direction to focus on reducing the preventive use of Category III antimicrobials was taken following the re-assessment of the original goal to eliminate the preventive use of Category III antimicrobials by the end of 2020. The re-assessment process concluded that a mandatory regulatory requirement was not a responsible approach at this time.
Through the re-assessment process, CFC has reaffirmed its commitment to antimicrobial reduction and the CFC Responsible AMU Strategy.
Moving forward, CFC will be working with key supply chain stakeholders to promote reduction strategies, to increase access to animal health products and to share lessons-learned on reduction experiences.
The objectives and approach of CFC’s strategy continue to work in collaboration with the Canadian government’s Pan-Canadian Framework on Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial Use.
As always, consumers can be assured that Canadian chicken meets rigorous federal and provincial food safety regulations. Canada has strict regulations about antibiotic usage (including ensuring that all Category I to III medications given to birds have a veterinary prescription), and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency monitors and inspects chicken to ensure there are no issues with antibiotic residues in the meat.
As CFC’s Responsible AMU Strategy evolves, the strategy will continue to provide a sustainable means of meeting consumer expectations, protecting the health and welfare of birds, and preserving effective treatment options.