Tough antibiotic guidelines expected

24 April 1998

Tough antibiotic guidelines expected

TOUGH new guidelines restricting the use of antibiotics to situations where they are strictly necessary are expected to be issued this summer, including their use in animal rearing.

The Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food is due to report later this year on the assessment of the risks to humans of drug resistance across the whole food chain. The report will include the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed.

Earlier this week, the House of Lords committee on science and technology warned that the misuse and over-use of antibiotics in human patients and in farming threatens a resurgence of pre-antibiotic era illnesses such as TB and pneumonia.

It said drug resistance was rising due to over-prescribing, patients failing to understand that they must complete courses of antibiotics, and from the use of antibiotics as animal growth promoters and as mass medication to prevent infection in intensive animal husbandry.

Meanwhile, supermarkets moved to ban meat in their stores from farmers who use antibiotics as growth promoters, reports The Guardian.

Farmers denied there was a link between the use of antibiotics for intensive rearing of poultry and pigs and the development of drug resistant bacteria.

The National Farmers Union has set up a working party to investigate the issue. The NFU said antibiotics were a vital tool for farmers to safeguard the health and well-being of their animals.

Ben Gill, president, said 99.9% of meat contained no trace of the drugs which had been fed to animals, and insisted that there was no evidence to link use of antibiotics on farms with human resistance to drugs.

Compassion in World Farming called for a ban on the use of growth-promoting
antibiotics. It said animals were already being forced to grow unnaturally big and too fast .

  • Vets and farmers deny over-use of antibiotics, FWi, yesterday (23 April) — Click here
  • Antibiotics in farming threaten to unleash “superbugs”, FWi, yesterday — Click here

  • Financial Times 24/04/98 page 9
  • The Guardian 24/04/98 page 4, page 18 (Leader)
  • The Scotsman 24/04/98 page 7
  • The Independent 24/04/98 page 4
  • The Times 24/04/98 page 8, page 23 (Leader)

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