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Abstract

The U.S. pork industry routinely adds antibiotics to rations of weaned pigs both to prevent illness before symptoms emerge and to increase growth rates. The European Union (EU) is in the process of restricting feed use of antibiotics, and the U.S. is currently reviewing the practice. The strategic issue facing U.S. pork producers is whether another food safety dispute with the EU is worthwhile. This paper evaluates the economic impact of such a ban in the U.S. The analysis uses a set of technical assumptions derived from the experience of a similar ban in Sweden and finds such a ban would increase production costs per head between $5.24 and $6.05; net profit would decline $0.79 per head. On the consumer side, the effects of a ban would raise the retail price of pork by 5 cents per pound.

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