People today are taking a greater interest in how their food is produced. But they're also confused about the role of antibiotics in meat production. It's actually quite simple — produce healthy livestock, get safe food. But lately, there's been a lot of conversation around "antibiotic-free" meat.

To be clear, the meat you eat is safe due to FDA rules and USDA testing. When you see antibiotic-free meat on a menu or on a food label, it means the animals were raised without the use of antibiotics. Some believe that the quick fix to the complex problem of antibiotic resistance is the "just say no" to antibiotic use. But just like in human medicine, "zero antibiotics" is not an option for pigs.

That's why our industry is focused on responsible antibiotic use. That means pig farmers embrace new federal guidelines that both include veterinarian oversight and removal of medically important antibiotics to promo! te a pig's growth. Educating farmers and consumers is a priority. It is why we collaborate with our partners across the industry to ensure that all pig farmers know about new FDA regulations and antibiotic stewardship.

As pig farmers, we understand the issue and accept our responsibility to be good stewards of antibiotics. Our world is at a turning point for antibiotic use in both human and animal health. Our solutions cannot be short term. We need to look at the big picture: Safe food, healthy animals and to make sure that medicines keep working — for people and pigs.

Dottie King