News from the National Pork Board

FDA Guidance #152: Antimicrobial Usage

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed guidelines for assessing safety of antimicrobial new drugs with regard to their microbiological effects on bacteria. These guidelines have potential to dramatically change the way practitioners use antimicrobials.

The draft, titled "Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Antimicrobial New Animal Drugs with Regard to Their Microbiological Effects on Bacteria of Human Health Concern," pertains to the approval process for food-animal antimicrobials. A qualitative risk assessment, including assessment of proposed effects in human medicine, would be used to determine availability of antimicrobials, both new and previously approved, but the draft leaves questions as to the transparency of this process. The potential impact on producers would lie in the decreased availability of many antimicrobials currently used and restricted treatment methods. The National Pork Board has voiced its concerns, together with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), about the necessities of veterinary care in modern production systems, including timely, cost-effective availability of antimicrobials for animal treatment. The FDA will release an updated draft early this spring, after considering comments on the document.

The Pork Checkoff continues to encourage practitioners to adhere to Judicious Use Guidelines that are part of the Pork Quality Assurance Program, which can be found at

Security and Biosecurity updates

The Pork Checkoff's Security and Biosecurity Guides for Pork Producers have provided a valuable tool for informing producers and others on proper practices to prevent intentional or unintentional introduction of pathogens to the farm. Supplemental updates to the packet, which was originally released in February of 2002, can be found online at

Semen Supplier Questionnaire

Disease entry to a farm can occur through many vehicles, including genetic material. This questionnaire is designed to assist producers and veterinarians to develop farm-specific protocols for purchased or delivered semen.

Biosecurity Consideration for Pigs Housed Outdoors or with Access to Outdoor Lots

Producers who house pigs outdoors have biosecurity challenges because they cannot control pig contact with wildlife, stray animals, rodents, insects, aerosols, or people. This guide advises producers on procedures that discourage unwanted visitors and pests in outdoor facilities.

Veterinarian and Producer Action Guides

Veterinarians and producers are on the front line of defense against foreign animal disease. These guides provide quick references, on the farm or at the clinic, of observations to report and include space to list phone numbers for the Area Veterinarian In Charge and the State Veterinarian.

Phone Threat Guide

This gives producers a guide for documenting phone threats received. The guide directs producers and employees to remain calm and record necessary information during such an event.

Disinfectant Classifications

This document lists common disinfectants, giving examples of different disinfectant classes. It is designed to help producers select a disinfectant specific to the needs on their farm.

Gestation Sow Housing Workshop

The Pork Checkoff Animal Welfare Committee sponsored the Gestation Sow Housing Workshop with the objective of reviewing and summarizing research publications in areas of behavior, physiology, and performance and health of sows, in studies that directly compared sow-housing systems. Common systems were tethers, stalls, and various group-housing systems.

Eleven swine welfare experts from France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, including members of the AASV, met in Lubbock, Texas. A macro search of all literature pertaining to gestation sow housing, and published between 1970 and 2002, was collated and sorted for relevance to the objectives of the review paper. The first draft has been written and is being reviewed by the Animal Welfare Committee and additional swine welfare scientists, with the aim of publishing in a peer-reviewed journal early in 2003.

This meeting will help provide an objective review of gestation sow housing systems based on the science that we have. Few studies directly compare different sow housing systems within the same experimental facility. In addition, the paper has highlighted gaps in our knowledge where future research is needed to enable pork producers and other stakeholders to make decisions based on science rather than on political or emotive responses.

Swine Health Factsheet

A new Swine Health Factsheet, (Circovirus Infection in Swine,) is included with this issue of the Journal of Swine Health and Production, and reviews clinical signs and pathology associated with porcine circovirus type 2 infection. This virus may be associated with postweaning multisystematic wasting syndrome and porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome. A list of frequently asked questions is available with answers. The factsheet can also be obtained online at, or by calling 515-223-2600.