Antibiotic-free (ATBF) certification is the first step to regulate and control antibiotic use and residues. The ATBF certification is granted to companies who do not apply antibiotics under any farming stage, or to companies engaged in farming techniques that respect determined antibiotic suspension periods.
The excessive use of antibiotics is considered to be the main cause of the growth and spread of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. In Europe alone, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated a health expenditure related to antibiotic resistance of 1.5 billion euros. This alarming trend has been classified as one of the greatest threats to global health.
The goal of ATBF certification is to analyse and detect the presence of harmful antibiotic residues in animal derived products. The scheme assists companies in determining and managing the most critical production points, and it guarantees the consumer has transparency and traceability of the farming techniques that the animal has been subject to during its last months, or for its entire life. Companies sensitive to the health of their customers, and of the environment, are required to define their farming conditions and those aspects that might impact the health of the animal through a risk assessment procedure.