The Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use (CRAU) is the first responsible use standard certified by USDA that allows for minimal use of medically important antibiotics in poultry production, and only those prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. Verification by USDA, a government agency accountable to Congress and the public, is essential to ensuring the integrity of CRAU. Poultry companies interested in meeting CRAU must undergo regular USDA audits to verify conformance.
Poultry producers in conformance with CRAU are prohibited from using antibiotics with analogues in human medicine in any regular pattern of use for any reason, including growth promotion, weight gain, feed efficiency and disease prevention. Use of antibiotics with analogues in human medicine must be rare, well documented with medical justification, and prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. Antibiotics that do not have analogues in human medicine have no further restrictions, as their use at this time is believed to present minimal risk to public health. ARAC will change its CRAU standard if scientific evidence reveals a link.
The CRAU standard is managed by the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. It was initially developed by School Food Focus in 2014 to minimize the use of antibiotics in poultry production and give schools an option to purchase poultry raised with responsible antibiotic use. Staff from ARAC worked closely with School Food Focus over the years to help develop and ensure the CRAU standard is rooted in the latest scientific developments. In late 2017, School Food Focus formally transferred the standard to ARAC.