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FSA pledges to cut the use of antibiotics

12 September 2016

The Food Standards Agency has pledged to cut the use of antibiotics on farms following the discovery of high levels of drug-resistant E.coli on UK supermarket chicken and pork meat. 

The FSA has acknowledged the ‘significant threat’ to human health from antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and pledged to cut the use of antibiotics on farms.

Commenting on the announcement, Emma Rose from the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics said; “It's fantastic the FSA has pledged to work with food businesses and retailers to reduce farm antibiotic use. With antibiotic resistance predicted to kill one person every three seconds by 2050, the FSA must commit to ending the routine mass medication of groups of animals. Such practices are putting our health at risk - and should have no place in the supply chains of responsible UK supermarkets.

“Worryingly and in contrast to the FSA response, the British Retail Consortium said yesterday that ‘Mass treatment of animals is not legally permitted.’ This is, of course, incorrect. In fact, mass medication accounts for about 88% of UK farm antibiotic use and is likely to be par-for-the-course within supermarket supply chains. Upon learning that they are mistaken in their assertion, I expect the BRC to call for a ban on the routine mass medication of groups of animals immediately.
Following the findings of a recent study, Waitrose updated its antibiotics policy to state that it is working towards significant year on year reductions in usage of all antibiotics, and have pledged to end the use of all ‘critically important’ antibiotics as soon as possible. 

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