Antimicrobial usage in broiler chicken production in the United States, 2013–2021

Randall S. Singer, Nora F.D. Schrag, Isabel Ricke, Michael D. Apley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although efforts to improve antimicrobial stewardship should include the collection of antimicrobial use data, most antimicrobial datasets collected at the national level consist of antimicrobial sales data which cannot inform stewardship. These data lack context, such as information regarding target species, disease indication, and regimen specifics like dose, route and duration. Therefore, the goal of this study was to develop a system for collecting data on the use of antimicrobials in the U.S. broiler chicken industry. This study utilized a public-private partnership to enable collection and protection of sensitive data from an extremely large industry while releasing deidentified and aggregated information regarding the details of antimicrobial use on U.S. broiler chicken farms over time. Participation was voluntary. Data were collected for the period 2013 through 2021 and are reported on a calendar year basis. Using production statistics from USDA:NASS as a denominator, the data supplied by participating companies represented approximately 82.1% of broiler chicken production in the U.S. in 2013, approximately 88.6% in 2017, and approximately 85.0% in 2021. The data that were submitted for 2021 are based on approximately 7,826,121,178 chickens slaughtered and 50,550,817,859 pounds liveweight produced. Granular flock-level treatment records were available for 75–90% of the birds represented in the 2018–2021 dataset. There was no use of antimicrobials in the hatchery for the years 2020 and 2021. Medically important in-feed antimicrobial use decreased substantially, with all in-feed tetracycline use being eliminated by 2020, and the use of virginiamycin being reduced by more than 97% since 2013. Medically important water-soluble antimicrobials are used for the treatment of disease in broiler production. Use decreased substantially for most water-soluble antimicrobials. The most important diseases necessitating treatment were necrotic enteritis and gangrenous dermatitis as well as E. coli-related disease. A focus on reducing the incidence of these diseases would reduce the need for antimicrobial therapy but will require an investment in research to find efficacious and cost-effective interventions for these diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1139908
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was made possible, in part, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through grant U01FD005878 and support from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Singer, Schrag, Ricke and Apley.


  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • antimicrobial use
  • broiler chickens
  • colibacillosis
  • epidemiological monitoring
  • gangrenous dermatitis
  • necrotic enteritis

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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