Overuse of animal antibiotics threatens human health
- By: Richard Woodman
Giving antibiotics to farm animals results in the emergence of resistant bacteria with potentially calamitous consequences for human health, warns a report from the United Kingdom Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food.
The committee, which was set up to provide the government with independent expert advice, says that it is clear that some of the resistant strains seen in food animals are capable of infecting humans. Moreover, the ability of micro- organisms to transfer resistance “adds to the concerns about multiple resistant strains like [Salmonella typhimurium] entering the food chain.”
The report recommends reduced reliance on the use of antimicrobials in food animal production and urges regulatory authorities to consider the resistance problem before authorising veterinary medicines.
Members of the committee backed the recent European Union ban on using as growth promoters certain antibiotics that are closely related to those used in human medicine. The report stated: “Having