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Mathis: ‘Vaccination is a viable alternative.’

Which coccidiosis-control methods are best to use in light of the economic constraints facing poultry producers? Greg Mathis, president of Southern Poultry Research, addressed this question in an article published last November in World Poultry USA.

The advantages of anticoccidials include a broad selection of products, ease of administration and long track record, Mathis says. The down side includes varied effectiveness, the potential of toxicity and, of course, resistance development. The relatively low cost of some anticoccidials such as salinomycin has increased their use, contributing to resistance and use of lower anticoccidial levels. Producers need to weigh any savings against the risk of reduced performance, Mathis says.

Vaccination is the other primary method of coccidiosis control and its use has soared in part due to better methods of application, anticoccidial resistance and the demand for drugfree birds. Coccidiosis vaccines are easy to use, Mathis reports.

In addition, studies have shown that Coccivac-B can change a coccidial population from resistant to sensitive; Immucox may have this trait though “no information supporting this is available,” he says.

Vaccination disadvantages cited by Mathis are the “comparable cost of vaccines and anticoccidials, and the fact that live organisms must be handled carefully.” Care must be taken to ensure that nonmedicated feed is used during grow-out in vaccinated birds, but this kind of concern is diminishing as experience with the vaccines grows, he says.

A coccidiosis vaccination program can equal an ionophore program and possibly yield superior performance if a late challenge occurs.

“Thus, vaccination is a viable alternative to anticoccidials in broilers,” Mathis says. Vaccination offers the bonus of a drug-free bird if growthenhancing antibiotics aren’t used, and will alter coccidial sensitivity patterns, restoring sensitivity to anticoccidials.

Mathis also provides seasonal recommendations for maximizing coccidiosis control. He advises producers to monitor for resistance, especially when chemicals are used. Although “straight” programs seem cost-effective, there’s a greater risk for resistance development. Ionophore-to-ionophore shuttle programs should be avoided and ionophores should be selected based not just on price alone, but on species efficacy. If a straight program must be used, Mathis recommends that coccidiosis vaccination be part of the yearly program to shift the resistance pattern to sensitive.

For a limited time, reprints of this educational article are available from Schering-Plough Animal Health representatives or send your name and address to phyllis.middleton@ spcorp.com. Fax: 908-629-3206. Ask for SPAH-PBU-252.

Processed vs. Natural vs. Organic: The Final Word

As reported in the last issue of CocciForum (“Natural Tendencies” CocciForum No. 5), mainstream poultry producers are increasingly turning to vaccines to produce what consumers consider more “natural” poultry products.

But what exactly is “natural” and what is not when it comes to poultry products? Answering that question isn’t as simple as it might seem.

According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the term “natural” actually has nothing to do with the way an animal has been raised; the labeling poses no prohibitions against the use of drugs or vaccines.

Instead, it specifically addresses the processing procedures the carcass goes through after the animal has been slaughtered.

Playing by the rules

The bottom line: The same rules for drugs and vaccines that apply to all other chicken products apply to socalled “natural” chicken as well: ionophoric anticoccidials (monensin, lasalocid, salinomycin) are allowed, as are growth promoters (bacitracin, virginiamycin, and bambermycin).

If those drugs are used, though, they must be withdrawn a specified period of time before slaughtered. If the producer chooses to make a perceived value-added claim about the use of drugs — in other words, “No added antibiotics” — the statement must include the amount of withdrawal time.

Over the past few years, of course, some growers have attempted to distinguish themselves from competitors by touting their birds as having received no sub-therapeutic levels of anticoccidials and/or growth promoters. That’s resulted in the increased use of “negative” labeling claims — “No antibiotics used….”

Just the facts

But the FSIS says that even though many consumers consider such added claims to be an integral part of the “natural” labeling requirements, that’s not the case. Again, “natural” refers only to what happens to the product during processing, in other words, after slaughter, not before.

As to the added claims — such as “free-range,” “no antibiotics used,” etc. — FSIS says they can be used as long as they are backed up by facts. So if the words “No antibiotics used,” with no qualification, are printed on the label, that means that the chicken must have received no antibiotics during its entire life.

Under the “natural” label processing requirements, meat products must be no more than “minimally processed.” Roasting, smoking, freezing, drying, fermenting or meat grinding are all allowed under the “natural” labeling requirements. Processes not allowed under the natural label include acid hydrolysis, solvent extraction, chemical bleaching, and mechanical separation of meat.

Interestingly, the most recent official USDA directive on this issue is known as “Policy Memo 055.” It was published November 22, 1982.

Four organic categories

And what about “organic” foods? There are more recent changes on that front. The USDA, just this past October as the last issue of CocciForum was going to press, published a new set of national standards for foods labeled “organic.” The USDA set up four new categories:

• “100% organic;”

• “Organic,” defined by the USDA as containing 95% organic ingredients;

• “Made with organic,” which includes products with at least 70% organic ingredients;

• Products with less than 70% organic ingredients can’t be labeled “organic,” and can only list their organic ingredients in the contents area of their packaging.

Under the current USDA rules, poultry that’s been raised with the use of in-feed anticoccidials and growth promoters can’t carry the organic labeling (but, again, can carry the “natural” labeling, if it’s minimally processed).

Leaning on vaccination

One way that growers are managing to cut down on the use of drugs in their birds — and thus attract consumers seeking chicken with less additives — is to lean more heavily on their use of vaccination, especially vaccination against coccidiosis.

“Over the past 6 years,” says Marcelo Lang of Schering- Plough Animal Health Corporation, “coccidiosis vaccination has evolved from being a technique used almost exclusively by breeder producers and broiler companies targeting specialty markets, to being a standard practice in today’s mainstream poultry companies.”



Source: CocciForum Issue No.6, Schering-Plough Animal Health.

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