The utilization of dual-use antibiotics in animal agriculture is coming under heavy fire. Retailers are feeling the pressure from consumers to reduce the amount of meat on their shelves from animals that have been treated with antibiotics.

“Costco has been involved in this conversation for a long time,” said Craig Wilson, Vice President of Food Safety and Quality Assurance at Costco. “Consumers are very concerned with antibiotics even though they might not fully understand them.”

Wilson will be representing Costco at NIAA’s Antibiotic Stewardship: From Metrics to Management. With no preconceived expectations, Wilson says he hopes to learn from other speakers and participants about recommended antibiotic best practices and measurements.

Wilson and Costco support the proper use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. “We don’t want sick animals out there,” Wilson said. “We want to treat them when they are sick. [Even so], dual use antibiotics should be reduced to get away from situations that have arisen with antibiotic resistant bacteria”

Another key issue in which Wilson hopes to gain more insight from the symposium is how to educate the public on the withdrawal times of antibiotics. That is, allowing sufficient time for antibiotics to be metabolized by the animal’s body, leading to no antibiotic residue in the meat. This needs to be addressed to help the consumer understand what is and is not in their food.

Consumers are requesting clarity on withdrawal periods, Wilson shared. “Consumers don’t fully understand that it is against the law to have antibiotics in meat. Suppliers are all on the same page that what we need is a simple definition of withdrawal which communicates easily to the public.

NIAA Antibiotic Stewardship: From Metrics to Management takes place November 3 to 5 in Atlanta, Ga. and is open to all individuals who want to learn from each other, engage in meaningful discussion and create successful strategies to safeguard antibiotic efficacy.