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Pork FAQs

Can antibiotics and hormones be used in pork raising?

By Bob Oros

Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat disease in hogs. A "withdrawal" period is required from the time antibiotics are administered until it is legal to slaughter the animal. This is so residues can exit the animal's system and won't be in the meat.

FSIS randomly samples pork at slaughter and tests for residues. Data from this monitoring program have shown a very low percentage of residue violations.

No hormones are used in the raising of hogs.

Pork producers have a responsibility to produce safe food. For decades, U.S. pork producers have been committed to producing the safest and highest-quality pork supply in the world. Vital to delivering on that commitment is providing a comprehensive health program for the animals. The use of animal health products, including antibiotics, is only one part of a herd health management plan.

When antibiotics are used appropriately, pigs are healthier, ensuring the pork on America’s dinner tables is safe.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that antibiotics undergo a vigorous review for safety to animals, humans and the environment before they are approved for use. This approval process is the first of multiple steps to ensure food products from animals treated with antibiotics are safe. Farmers work closely with veterinarians to decide which antibiotics to use, and they are administered when the animals are most at risk for illness. Additionally, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) inspects every animal that enters and passes through the processing plant.