Retailers pressure farmers to reduce antibiotic usage

The dairy industry is a low user of antibiotics in general
The dairy industry is a low user of antibiotics in general
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

RETAILERS are placing increasing pressure on the farming industry to cut antibiotic use in animals.

UCD Public Health Professor Pat Wall said retailers are now asking suppliers to produce farm antibiotic records.

“They have to demonstrate a downward trend on antibiot­ic usage and that is why we are so strict on antibiotic usage on farms,” he said.

A new EU report pinpoints more evidence of a link be­tween antibiotic usage and a rise in antibiotic resistance.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “To contain antibiotic resistance we need to fight on three fronts at the same time: human, ani­mal and the environment.”

A class of antibiotics called polymyxins, including Colis­tin, used by vets is also used in hospitals to treat multi-drug-resistant infections.

Recently, the parent of Burger King and Tim Hortons on Thursday vowed to cut the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply, joining other major fast-food chain operators in the battle against the rise of dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs.

Restaurant Brands International Inc said it intends to switch its Burger King and Tim Hortons chains in the United States and Canada to chicken raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine by the end of 2018.

Get the latest news from the Farming Independent team 3 times a week.

Human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose a grave threat to global health and are estimated to kill at least 23,000 Americans each year, although a recent Reuters investigation found that many infection-related deaths are going uncounted.

Some 70pc of antibiotics vital for fighting infections in humans are sold for use in meat and dairy production. Medical researchers have concerns that overuse of those drugs on farms may diminish their effectiveness in fighting disease in humans.

Online Editors

For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App