The National Institute for Animal Agriculture, a non-profit group unifying a variety of animal agriculture groups, will hold a national forum focused on antibiotics in October.

“The use of antibiotics in the production of food animals elicits polarizing opinions across the media today as consumers become more aware and interested in the way their food is produced,” said NIAA in an announcement. “While livestock producers have realized that significant animal illness can be avoided by the use of antibiotics, consumers are being told that any use of antibiotics leads to a lower effectiveness of antibiotics in humans.”

Antibiotic resistance as a public health concern tied to food animal production was again highlighted last month with the 36 million pound ground turkey recall for multi-drug resistant Salmonella.

NIAA notes that though there have been debates and discussions on this issue, the national forum will broaden the conversation with experts in animal agriculture, researchers in the area of livestock health, and experts in human health.

“There is significant confusion regarding the use and potential effects of the use of antibiotics in food animal production,” states Dr. Leonard Bull, past NIAA chairman and leader of the forum planning committee. “This dialogue will provide the most up-to-date information on the research that has been done on the issue, what the science really means, and what further research may be needed.”

Participants in the forum will have the opportunity to hear from the research leaders and experts and join in the dialogue. “As is the case in all NIAA forums, it is important that members of the audience have the opportunity to ask questions of the panels and participate in the discussion,” says Bull.

The forum, titled Antibiotic Use in Food Animals: A Dialogue for a Common Purpose, is scheduled to be held at the Hotel InterContinental O’Hare in Chicago, IL Oct. 26-27, 2011. More information is available at