29 April 1998
Organic lobby blames antibiotics for increased salmonella risk
ANTIBIOTICS given to animals to make them grow faster are to blame for the spread of salmonella, according to the pro-organic Soil Association.
In its evidence to the House of Commons agricultural select committee inquiry into food safety, the association claims that growth-promoting antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria in animals intestines which the salmonella normally has to compete against.
The agricultural select committees report on food safety will be released today. It follows last weeks House of Lords science and technology committee report which said there was a real risk of creating superbugs resistant to treatment because of the overuse of antibiotics in farming and the medical profession.
But Professor Hugh Penington, E Coli expert, said there was no evidence that antibiotic use played any part in the spread of salmonella, although he thought the drugs should not be used for promoting growth because they encouraged genes to develop which were resistant to antibiotics.
A Ministry of Agriculture spokesman said good husbandry techniques were the key to reducing salmonella infection rather than use of non-use of antibiotics.
Meanwhile, scientists at the University of California, Davis, claim to have discovered a new way to combat strains of bacteria that have become resistant to almost all conventional antibiotics.
- The Times 29/04/98 page 8
- The Daily Telegraph 29/04/98 page 20
- The Guardian (Society supplement) 29/04/98 page 4-5