On most farms and ranches, needles are commonly used for vaccination and administration of antibiotics and something that needs to be considered is disposing of these sharp objects safely. Human medical facilities as well as veterinary medical facilities have rules about disposing of these sharp objects and in most cases, veterinarian’s contract with companies to dispose of their sharps. However, there are concerns about the disposal of these sharp objects on the farm and the best method of doing so. The FDA is concerned about disposal of sharp objects due to other possible transmission of disease to humans and they have developed a new website to guide folks on disposing of sharp medical objects. The website is www.FDA.gov/safesharpsdisposal.
Livestock producers need to take a positive approach to the problem so that the FDA will not add any more regulations to those we already have in place. The FDA indicates it is important to place all needles and other sharps in FDA-approved containers to reduce the risk of needle sticks and punctures and these approved containers are also listed on their website. In some cases, you can place sharps in a regular heavy duty household container that is leak and puncture resistant such as a plastic laundry detergent container. When full, these sharps containers can be picked up by companies that can dispose of them and this service is fairly economical, especially since most livestock producers do not use that many needles. If you have questions, your local vet can usually help you with disposal of your sharps containers.