While the USDA and FDA already regulate and test meat to ensure food does not contain antibiotic residue in beef sold on the market, the practice of blanket treatment of groups of cattle to prevent infection is increasing the occurrence of bacteria that are resistant to previously effective antibiotics.
Livestock receive 65% of the total amount of antibiotics administered to humans and animals in the U.S. Cattle receive 41% of livestock portion, which amounts to 25% of all antibiotics used in the U.S. in people and livestock.
The New York State Department of Health established the NYS Antimicrobial Resistance Prevention and Control Task Force, which developed Stop Antibiotic Resistance Roadmap (STARR) to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. One of its recommendations is reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics in livestock.
Using the market as a tool to incentivize farmers to advance enhanced antibiotic stewardship, CADE piloted a first-ever beef procurement specification for public school districts in partnership with the CCE Tompkins County Farm-to-School Project.* In April 2019, food purchasers of four Tompkins County School Districts (Dryden, Groton, Ithaca and Trumansburg) in New York’s Southern Tier region took the unprecedented step of requiring vendors that bid on their beef contracts to meet new specifications that reduce on-farm use of antibiotics while promoting animal welfare.
Building on the success of the pilot, CADE seeks to replicate and scale the antibiotic stewardship procurement standard among K-12 schools across New York State. The standard aligns public school purchasing with New York State's public health policy and helps protect communities against antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause infection and illness.
School food purchasers interested in replicating the standard in their procurement bids can download "A Guide for Public School District Food Purchasers on adopting a Beef Procurement Specification to Help Combat Antibiotics Resistance".
*CADE worked with the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) at the George Washington University to refine the beef specification. ARAC manages the first standard certified by USDA that allows for minimal use of medically important antibiotics in poultry production—the Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use (CRAU) program. CADE’s new beef bid specification incorporates many principles in the CRAU standard.