Retailers, manufacturers, processors and food service companies have come together, under the banner of the Food Industry Initiative on Antimicrobials (FIIA), to promote and support responsible antibiotic use and action on antimicrobial resistance. This initiative supports and engages with the broad range of groups already working in this area with the aim of ensuring that work is aligned and duplication of effort is avoided. By working together, the members of FIIA are able to harness their collective power to influence activity and support best practice.
The overall objective of the FIIA is to target the use of antimicrobials in a way that promotes animal health and welfare — at the same time as reducing potential antimicrobial resistance due to any overuse of antibiotics in particular. In order to facilitate this, measurement of antibiotic use, and support for farmers are key priorities.
The initiative is led by a Strategic Steering Group and chaired by an independent chairperson, Professor Sarah O’Brien, who is Professor of Translational Agritechnology at Newcastle University.
Since FIIA’s formation in late 2017, the FIIA has:
United retailers, manufacturers, processors and food service companies in promoting & supporting responsible antimicrobial use
Agreed support for Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance targets and guiding principles
Agreed Sourcing Commitments
Reviewed best practice on measurement & farmer support, & identified research needs.
FIIA has also developed a policy on antibiotics. It has recently agreed a set of commitments reflecting the principles in this policy, which are aligned to responsible use of antibiotics and aim to balance reductions in use without compromising animal health and welfare.
FIIA Member Commitments: aligned to ‘Responsible Use’ by balancing reduction without compromising health & welfare
Commitments 1 & 2 are supported by addressing Commitments 3 & 4
The FIIA is now at a point of deciding how to action these commitments. Some actions FIIA members can take directly, but others there is a need for wider stakeholder action to ensure full coverage across all UK product sold.
Six key actions for achieving Commitments 3 and 4
Standardise data collection and management
Encourage incorporation of e-data (starting with e-Medicine Book for pigs and new e-Medicine Hub for cattle & sheep) into Red Tractor assurance for all species
Turn data into insight
Identify and support high antibiotic users and heighten veterinary assistance
Identify and capture good practices, and scale quickly
Ensure continuing alignment across industry, non-governmental & government initiatives