Suino Antibiotic Free

March 22, 2016


Technical specifications for the slaughter pigs production,

without the use of antibiotics and sulphonamides.

First Part (available for public consultation)



  • The antimicrobials, category to which antibiotics belong, are essential medicine in order to kill microorganisms or to discontinue the growth and proliferation. Antibiotics are commonly used in human and veterinary medicine to treat of a wide range of infectious diseases.
  • The antimicrobial resistance (antimicrobial resistance – AMR) is the ability of a given bacterium to withstand an antimicrobial agent to which it was previously sensitive, making the product ineffective.
  • The overuse, and misuse of antibiotics are considered to be the main cause of the growth and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria; this determines a consequent loss of efficacy of therapies and serious risks to public health.
  • The phenomena of resistance are increasingly frequent and infections are increasingly difficult to treat. The resistant bacteria can spread through many routes. When the antimicrobial resistance occurs in zoonotic bacteria [1] present in animals and foods, it can also undermine the effectiveness of the treatment of infectious diseases in humans. Bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, who live in animals, may become pathogens also for humans, getting infected directly from the animal, or through the animal origin foodstuffs.
  • To understand the importance of the livestock sector in relation to antimicrobial resistance, it is necessary to consider that approximately 80% of antibiotics world production is used in livestock farms for the treatment and prevention of certain infectious diseases.
  • This has caused a strong increase of the antibiotics resistance, in particular for pig holdings. The prophylactic use of antibiotics must be assessed very carefully as it is suspected to promote the selection of resistance, in particular in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • For these reasons we are developing alternative breeding techniques, which allow eliminating or greatly limiting the use of antibiotics in the treatment of animals. These techniques are based on the strengthening the defenses of the herd by:
  • The input of diseases from the outside, by means of physical protection techniques of the herd from the entry of potential vectors of diseases (perimeter fences, quarantine, filter zones for humans and means, paths and internal movements);
  • The onset of internal diseases, through the optimization of the rearing environment conditions (proper design and construction of structures, techniques for environmental monitoring, systems adopted for the power supply and watering, removal techniques of zootechnical effluents) and careful application of sanitary standards (cleaning, disinfection, depopulation, treatment/management of pigs “problem”, etc.).

Presentation of the organization and/or the chain involved:

  • Antibiotic free uses the involvement of herds of pigs from growth to fattening, a feed mill, a slaughterhouse, a processing plant, and a group of large organized distribution (GDO).


Object and purpose

  • The object of the specifications is the breeding of pigs in the growing and fattening phase, without the use of antibiotics and sulphonamides. The main purpose is to produce heavy pigs, and then originate certified antibiotic free products, able to reduce the causes of antibiotic resistance.


  • Directive 2008/120/CE of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs (codified version). GU L 47/5, 18 February 2009
  • Council Directive 98/58/CE of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes. G.U.  n. The 22, 18 August 1998.
  • CE Council regulation n. 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/CE and Regulation (EC) n. 1255/97. GU L 003, 5 January 2005.
  • CE Council regulation no. 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 concerning the protection of animals during slaughter. GU L 303/1, 18 November 2009.
  • European Food Safety Authority and ECDC (2011) The European Union Summary Report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in the European Union in 2009. EFSA Journal 9(7):2154, p 1-321.
  • Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (2009) Revised Reflection Paper On The Use Of 3rd And 4th Generation Cephalosporins In Food Producing Animals In The European Union: Development Of Resistance And Impact On Human And Animal Health, European Medicines Agency, London, 16 March 2009.
  • European Food Safety Authority Panel on Biological Hazards (2009) Scientific Opinion. Assessment of the Public Health significance of meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in animals and foods. The EFSA Journal (2009) 993, 1-73.
  • ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and EMA (European Medicines Agency), 2015. ECDC/EFSA/EMA first joint report on the integrated analysis of the consumption of antimicrobial agents and occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from humans and food-producing animals. Stockholm/Parma/London: ECDC/EFSA/EMA, 2015. EFSA Journal 2015;13(1):4006,114 pp.
  • “Linee guida per la gestione e il controllo sanitario dell’allevamento di suini all’aperto“, Giunta della Regione Emilia-Romagna, 28 luglio 2008.

Product description:

  • Brand name “suino antibiotic free” is reserved for the products that meet the requirements established by the present technical disciplinary.

Product description

  • Object of certification: pigs reared in the growing and fattening phase, without the use of antibiotics and sulphonamides.

Production area

  • Italian territory.

Field of application:

  • pigs with a initial live weight 25-30 kg, to final slaughter live weight of 160 kg and beyond.

Pig’s arrival, and the formation of the groups:

  • The transfer of pigs must be carried out in accordance with the current regulations, i.e. the EC Regulation n.1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations.

Rearing environment conditions:

  • Pigs Breeding must be done in accordance with the current regulations (Council Directive 2008/120/EC), which lays down minimum standards for the protection of pigs on farms. Have the value of all the general provisions, and those relating to pigs in growth and fattening phase.
  • In the case of breeding in the open, it must also be conducted in compliance with the provisions of the growth and fattening phases “Linee guida per la gestione e il controllo sanitario dell’allevamento di suini all’aperto“, approvate dalla Giunta della Regione Emilia-Romagna il 28 luglio 2008. The minimal surface for the dimensioning of the fences is equal to 250 m2/head for pigs in growth and fattening phase.
  • In the case of pigsty breeding, a superior unitary surface of housing standard is adopted, which must be at least 100% larger than the minimum indicated by current legislation. The minimum unitary surface reference for the present specifications are therefore as following: 0.8 m2/head for pigs from 30 to 50 kg live weight; 1,1 m2/head for pigs from 50 to 85 kg; 1.3 m2/head for pigs from 85 to 110 kg; 2 m2/head for pigs over 110 kg.
  • The floors, the inner surfaces, the of pig’s containment facilities (dividers, gates) and those for the food administration and drinking water must be easy to clean, maintained, and free of dangerous elements for animals.
  • The pigsty environmental and microclimate parameters must be carefully monitored (temperature, relative humidity, air speed, dust, toxic gases concentration), to keep them at levels that are considered optimal for this swine category, and generally to levels which are not harmful to the animals.
  • The pigs must have permanent access to environmental enrichment, i.e. with a sufficient amount of materials that allows their appropriate exploration and manipulation activity (at least a log of wood suspended to chain for each individual box).
  • The equipment used for the power and water supply must be designed, constructed, and installed in such a way to reduce to a minimum the possibility of food and water contamination, and the negative consequences deriving from the rivalry between the animals.
  • Water is an essential element for the wellbeing and health of pigs, and must be provided in a continuous manner; by means of an automatic watering system, correctly designed; troughs to inlet provided in sufficient number to the capacity of each individual box.
  • Each pig must have access to the food. In the case of simultaneous supply, the front reference unit of linear trough, for the present disciplinary, must comply with the following values: 0.28 m/head for pigs from 30 to 50 kg live weight; 0.34 m/head for pigs from 50 to 85 kg; 0.37 m/head for pigs from 85 to 110 kg; 0.42 m/head for pigs over 110 kg.
  • In the case of feeding ad libitum, the trough front must allow the pigs to eat without the competition.


  • The pigs must be fed only with feed prepared by the feed mill that participates to the “suino antibiotic free” program.
  • The production of feedingstuffs for “suino antibiotic free” program should take place on a separate line from the medicated swines, to guarantee the absence of contamination with antibiotics residues and sulphonamides in the feed. The feedingstuffs for “suino antibiotic free” swines, must be transported from the feed mill with suitable food transport means. Before each feed delivery, the cells of the truck must be properly washed.
  • The feed must be stored in suitable storage silos. The food and drinking water administered to our specific swine must be free of antibiotics and sulphonamides. The vegetable substances with phytotherapic activities and anthelmintics products for treating intestinal parasitoids are allowed.
  • In the food, the zinc oxide is allowed up to a maximum dose of 3.000 mg/kg. The permissible alimentation can be dry or liquid (swill), with rationed administration or ad libitum.

Sanitary Standards

  • Sick or injured pigs must be removed as soon as possible from the growth/fattening pits and housed in suitable infirmary box, to prevent the contamination of other pigs and to facilitate their care. In case these pigs are treated with antibiotics and sulphonamides, they must be removed from the antibiotic free herd before treatment.
  • In each growth/fattening department must be adopted to the technique of “full fill all empty” (TPTV), which consists in filling a local breeding station as rapidly as possible, to have animals with the same growth characteristics, emptying it completely at the end of the cycle, so that it can be subjected to thorough cleaning and disinfection operations, and a period of depopulation of not less than 3 d.

Cleaning/disinfection at the end of each cycle must provide the following:

  • Complete emptying of the pits sewage department;
  • Removal of small mobile equipment (mangers and environmental enrichment chains) and their subsequent washing/disinfecting outside the pigsty;
  • First wash of the room, and of the internal equipment, with a t surfactant detergent, with the purpose to soften and disrupt the incrustations of organic material;
  • Second washing with high-pressure water, aimed at the removal of deposits, rinsing of the detergent and thorough cleaning of surfaces; final disinfection with appropriate products.
  • The external areas facing the sties and the entire corporate interior and exterior viability must be kept clean and clear; there must not be waste of any type deposited or objects that are not needed for the farming activities.
  • It is mandatory to adopt a rodents control plan, with an indication of the conditions, times, the modes of implementation of products used, the areas to be treated, the frequency, and checks on the effectiveness of the treatments.
  • The waste produced in the herd must be stored in suitable deposit in accordance to standards; their transport and disposal must be entrusted to specialized firms. The dead pigs must be stored as soon as possible in suitable refrigeration cells. The subsequent operations of disposal should be entrusted to specialized firms.
  • The removal of the zootechnical effluents from sties must be frequently and regularly, in order to ensure the animals reared the best well-being conditions, health and hygiene, limiting the development of parasites, and of toxic gases emissions into the environment. The effluent removed from a stie can come into contact with the effluents of other sties only when they are outside of the buildings where the herd is located.

Pharmacological treatment of animals

  • The prophylaxis vaccines provided by law are allowed.
  • The use of antibiotics and sulphonamides is prohibited.
  • Anti-inflammatory, antipyretics, vitamin products, and zinc are allowed in therapeutic dosages, according to the laws of the health authority.

 Staff training

  • Animal care and monitoring personnel must have the appropriate ability, knowledge and professional skills on practical arrangements indicated in the pig’s welfare rules. Moreover, personnel must treat animals with calm and tranquility, maintaining a work routine as constant as possible and avoiding aggressive behavior.

Herd defense

  • Only authorized people and means will have access to the inside of the herd
  • The authorized persons before entering the herd must change, wearing clean clothes and shoes, or disposable shoes and special overalls with total coverage (facial excluded), to be destroyed after use.

Commercial specifications

  • Pig carcass needs to be depilated, emptied by the entrails and divided along the backbone, in two half carcasses.

 Labeling and use of trade mark

  • suino antibiotic free, i.e. reared without the use of antibiotics and sulphonamides, provides an appropriate certification of conformity of the product to what is stated in the present specification.

Plan of evidence and compliance


  • Test for the analysis of residues of antibiotics and sulphonamides in foods.
  • Test for the analysis of residues of antibiotics and sulphonamides in meat and processed meat products.

Plan of audits

Sites subject of audits

  • Selected farms for the production of suino antibiotic free.
  • Number and frequency of inspections: twice for each single production cycle.
  • Items subject to audit: verification of technical breeding parameters indicated in the present specification.

Part Two (reserved)


Management system for suino antibiotic free:

  • Provides the direct involvement of:
    • herds of pigs from growth-fattening phases,
    • a feed mill,
    • a slaughterhouse,
    • a processing plant meat,
    • a group of large organized distribution (GDO).
  • Suino antibiotic free feed supply must come from feed mills that are able to guarantee the absolute absence of contamination with antibiotics and sulphonamides, and the perfect traceability of production.

The processes of production, processing and distribution:

  • Pig’s breeding phase from growth-fattening.
  • Transportation phase of fattening pigs from the farm to the slaughterhouse.
  • Pigs slaughter phase.
  • Meat processing phase.
  • Meat transformation phase.

Identification and traceability

  • For each pig’s delivery, documentation guaranteeing the origin of the animals needs to be released.
  • For each pig’s delivery, the trucker that delivers the animals must release documentation that the means of transport is approved and that the mode of transport was in accordance with the legislation in force.
  • For each food delivery, the feed mill must deliver to the holder of the herd the formula of the feed and the declaration of absence of contamination from antibiotics and sulphonamides.
  • The farmer who owns the animals must keep a register in which are recorded the flows of animals and materials that directly affect the product object of certification, and in which is stored all the necessary documentation. The register allows consignments traceability of animals and feed.

Process control

  • Pig’s transportation phase from the breeding herd, to the fattening herd. This step must be controlled by means of the following checks:
  • Presence of documentation certifying the origin of the pigs for each load;
  • Presence of documentation which states that the procedures adopted for the transfer of the piglets are in accordance with what is laid down in Regulation EC n.1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport.

 Pig’s rearing phase from growth-fattening. This step must be controlled by means of the following checks:

  • The duration of the depopulation period in the premises where pigs are are reared;
  • Surface of housing adopted. The surface of housing must be at least 100% higher than the one that is laid down by the legislation in force;
  • The presence of at least one suitable environmental enrichment in each housing box; number of animals per individual drinking vessel;
  • Correct operation of the troughs within each pigsty;
  • Trough for each box;
  • The availability of adequate infirmary box for every pigsty;
  • Verify that no waste is deposited in areas facing the sties;
  • Documentation certifying the rodents control plan;
  • Availability of herd waste deposit area.

Transportation of pigs from the fattening farm to the slaughterhouse. This step must be controlled by means of the following checks:

  • Documentation for each load that attests the approval of the means of transport; documentation certifying that the transfer of pigs is in accordance with what provided for by EC Regulation n.1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport.

Slaughter phase, carcass processing and transformation. This step must be controlled by means of the following checks:

  • Documentation stating that the procedures adopted for the before slaughter period hold, the fattening pigs are in accordance with what is laid down in Regulation EC No. 1099/2009 on the protection of animals during slaughter;
  • Declaration of the slaughterhouse and of the transformer, which states that during the processing stages of the meat, and the transformation, the product was not contaminated with antibiotics or sulphonamides.
  • The farmer who owns the animals must manage the breeding and administer only food and products as permitted by this specification.
  • The veterinarian that follows the herd must prescribe only products allowed by the present disciplinary.
  • The owner of the animals must check all stages of breeding and ensure that the pigs delivered to the slaughterhouse were reared in full respect of the specification in question.
  • The controls plan must be reviewed with an annual frequency.

Suino Antibiotic Free doc/download