12 November 1998
EU plans to ban four feed antibiotics

THE European Commission will try today (Thursday) to ban four of the eight antibiotics used in animal feed. The move follows concerns over resistance built up in bacteria affecting humans by the antibiotics use.

Franz Fischler, European Union (EU) farm commissioner, will make the application for the ban to the EU standing committee on feedstuffs. The commissioner has also asked scientists to review the four antibiotics which have not been banned.

Fischlers move is controversial. So far scientists have been unable to show that the use of the four antibiotics in feedstuffs is increasing human resistance to medicines.

The four antibiotics facing a ban are:

  • Spiramycin (made by Rhone-Poulenc);
  • Virginiamycin (Pfizer);
  • Tysolin phosphate (Elanco); and
  • Bacitracin Zinc.

The total value of antibiotic sales in the EU is estimated at between Ecu9 billion and Ecu10bn (£6.3-7.0bn).