27 March 2000
Growth promoters could be curbed

By FWi staff

MINISTERS have accepted advice that could lead to the reduction of antibiotics used as growth promoters in livestock production.

Antibiotics are under scrutiny because of increased concern that their use in animal production could result in human resistance to antibiotic medicines.

The government has now published its response to a report on microbial resistance by its Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food.

The report, which consisted of an in-depth review of the role of food in the transfer of antibiotic resistant bacteria to humans, was released last August.

A considerable amount of research should be conducted into the subject of antibiotic resistance, concluded the authors.

They called for the introduction of a wide range of measures, highlighting areas that they believe require further action in order to protect public health.

Junior agriculture minister Baroness Hayman said the recommendations will be considered within the governments research and development budget.

A number of development projects costing 3.7 million are already under way in a bid to reduce the development of microbial resistance in farm animals, she added.

The results from the projects will direct future policy decisions and thus further minimise the risk to public health, said the Baroness.