30 April 1998
MPs urge drugs ban on farm animals

THE all-party House of Commons agriculture select committee has called for a ban on the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in farm animals.

Its wide-ranging report also warned that bacterial resistance to drugs might be transferred to humans.

The committee went further than a House of Lords committee report last week, which warned that the overuse of antibiotics by doctors and farmers threatened a return to the “pre-antibiotic era” as bacteria became drug-resistant.

The report included the recommendation that the proposed Food Standards Agency should be funded from taxation rather than through the Governments proposed levy on the food industry.

And it said food poisoning was greatly under-reported, calling for “a rigorous scientific and statistically reliable national food surveillance system” as an essential component of an effective future food safety policy.

Public education about basic food safety through the media was another recommendation, as were checks on intensive livestock practices and more public funds for food safety.

The British Medical Association said multi-drug resistant salmonella had multiplied 10 times in the past six years which it most likely attributed to intensive farming methods.

But The National Office of Animal Health expressed astonishment at such strong recommendations on the subject.

Agriculture minister Jack Cunningham promised to take a careful look at the report. He said the Government would consult on the best way to fund the Food Standards Agency before legislation was presented.

  • MPs call for a ban on farm antibiotics, FWi, yesterday (29 April) — Click here
  • Financial Times 30/04/98 page 8
  • The Guardian 30/04/98 page 13
  • The Times 30/04/98 page 7
  • The Independent 30/04/98 page 9
  • The Daily Telegraph 30/04/98 page 12