07 December 1998
Makers condemn plan to ban antibiotics

By Philip Clarke

EUROPEAN plans to ban antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed have been condemned by manufacturers.

The European Commission believes that using antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock could contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.

But the representative body for Europes feed additive manufacturers, FEFANA, said the proposed ban of six antibiotics went against the commissions own scientific advice.

“The ban would likely result in increased incidence of disease amongst animals, therefore requiring an increased use of medicines,” said a FEFANA tatement.

Two more antibiotics, olaquindox from Pfizer and carbadox from Bayer, were added to a Brussels hit-list of antibiotics due to be banned earlier today (Monday).

The Brussels-based Standing Committee for Animal Nutrition (SCAN) has already backed a European Commission proposal to ban virginiamycin, tylosin, zinc bacitracin and spiramycin.

Roger Cook, director of the National Office for Animal Health, said antibiotics provided good protection against salmonella, as well as boosting growth in livestock.

The commission argues that the two latest antibiotics present a health risk due to the dangers of inhaling toxic and carcinogenic particles.

But olaquindox has only been allowed on the UK market because it is sold in granulated form and is free from dust, said Mr Cook.

Mr Cook said the commissions intended phase-out period of 3-6 months for the antibiotics would cause chaos.

“It just shows that people in Brussels do not understand the very great problems that the transition will involve,” he said.

“In Sweden it has taken many years for farmers to adjust their management.”

Sweden banned antibiotics in animal feed in the mid-1980s, before it joined the European Union.

Farm ministers will decide whether to ban the six antibiotics, which account for more than 80% of the market, at their council meeting next week.

If they are banned, only avilamycin, banbermycin, monensin and salinomycin will be available to farmers.

  • Two more antibiotics on Brussels hit-list, FWi, today (07 December, 1998)