Brown backs feed antibiotics ban


14 December 1998


Brown backs feed antibiotics ban

By FWi staff

AGRICULTURE minister Nick Brown will vote in favour of the suspension of four feed antibiotics at an EU farm ministers meeting today (Monday).

The suspension – proposed by EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler – will effectively be a ban, said Mr Brown on BBC Radio 4 this morning.

The proposals follow concern that routine use of antibiotics in agriculture is helping to produce “superbugs” by building up bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used in human medicine.

The four antibiotics facing a ban are:

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

If the proposals are accepted, farmers would have six months to end the use of these four products.

Farmers would be left with only four feed antibiotics available – and a further two of these, olaquindox from Pfizer and carbadox from Bayer, are also under threat, but this time because the commission suspects they could put workers in feed mills and on farms at risk of inhaling toxic and carcinogenic particles.

Pfizer – which is already suing the Danish Government over a ban on some of its products – has threatened legal action against the EU if the ministers support a pan-European ban today.

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