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Antibiotic growth promoters set to be banned

20 November 1998
Antibiotic growth promoters set to be banned

A BAN on using some antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed looks likely. Four products are on the hit-list …more…


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Antibiotic growth promoters set to be banned

20 November 1998
Antibiotic growth promoters set to be banned

By Philip Clarke

A BAN on using some antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed looks increasingly likely, despite recent Brussels assurances that each product would be judged on scientific grounds.

Proposals, presented to the EUs Standing Committee for Animal Nutrition, suggest virginiamycin, tylosin, zinc bacitracin and spiramycin should be banned from 1 January, 1999.

These substances are believed to account for about 80% of the antibiotics used in EU pig and poultry rations.

Even before scientific investigations are finished, the Commission plans to introduce the bans as a “precautionary principle”. There is a suspicion that these antibiotics – used extensively in medicine – could be linked to humans resistance to antibiotics.

Roger Cook, director of the National Office of Animal Health, says the plans are premature, with a whole raft of scientific opinion, both in the UK and Brussels, due in the next few months

A ban would also boosys costs for pig and poultry farmers: “We all know the perilous state of the pig industry at the moment.”

Each £1 spent on antibiotic feed additives saves £6 in additional feed costs, he claims.

EU farmers would also face tougher competition from abroad, as the commission proposal does not apply to imported pigmeat.

Brussels-based industry body FEDESA warns that an antibiotic ban would increase prices to consumers, create more disease problems in animals and lead to an extra 7 million m3 of manure.

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