World meat industry news

All news / New Diagram to Address Antibiotics Confusion

  • 10 Sep 2015, 13:39

A team of livestock sustainability experts has devised a new diagram to explain how flagship health organisations classify “critically important” antimicrobials (CIAs).

The new Venn diagram has been released by food sustainability and animal health organisation Benchmark to clear up confusion over the classifications of the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.

The different groups define some drugs differently, although, according to Øistein Thorsen, a principal consultant at FAI Farms, a research and advice division of Benchmark, there is common ground to be found.

“Differences in the current categorisation of CIAs between the three different organisations can lead to confusion of what “critically important” exactly means,” said Øistein.

“The three organisations all rank fluoroquinolones, 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins and macrolides the same – classing them as highest priority.”

WHO FDA and OIE Classification Diagram


FAI's Venn diagram shows how three key world health organisations classify critically important antibiotics

FAI’s diagram follows the promotion of the 3Rs framework to help drive responsible use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture, launched last year.

Championed by consultants at FAI Farms, the framework calls on farmers to replace, reduce and refine antimicrobial usage.

This is according to FAI veterinary surgeon, Laura Higham, who said: “The 3Rs framework offers an opportunity for farmers and producers to take leadership in shaping the direction of what constitutes responsible use and stewardship of antibiotics in the context of food-producing animals.”

“We must take responsibility to preserve the effectiveness of all antibiotics for the benefit of people, animals and the environment. However, the CIAs that feature in the central overlapping region of this diagram may warrant particular scrutiny as the vital medicines that are critical in both human and animal healthcare."