EU bans growth-promoting antibiotics


15 December 1998


EU bans growth-promoting antibiotics

By FWi staff

EUROPEAN agriculture ministers in Brussels yesterday (Monday) banned four antibiotics used as growth promoters in livestock.

The ban, which come into force from July 1, 1999, covers four products blamed for increased resistance to antibiotics in humans who eat pork and chicken.

The banned products, which are widely used by farmers to increase the growth rate of pigs and poultry, are spiramycin, bacitracin zinc, virginiamycin, and tylosin phosphate.

The ban comes just days after a report by the pro-organic Soil Association claimed that the non-medicinal use of some antibiotics had increased by as much as 1500% over the past 30 years.

“The scientific view is that similar products used in human medicine are therefore less effective and people become more resistant,” said UK agriculture minister Nick Brown.

“The only alternative to the growing human resistance is to develop alternative or stronger medicines.”

The proposal to introduce the ban was brought by Sweden, a country which banned the use of certain antibiotics in animal feed several years ago.

But pharmaceutical companies are expected to appeal against the ban.

Pfizer is already suing the Danish Ministry of Food over a ban on one of antibiotics and has indicated that it will now take legal action against the European Union.

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