Tuesday, November 07, 2017

WHO wants farmers to reduce use of antibiotics in food production

antibiotics animals
The World Health Organization has recommended that farmers and those involved in the production of food stop using antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals.

The recommendations are part of new guidelines from the WHO on what constitutes inappropriate use of antibiotics in the food chain, with the aim of tackling one of the main causes of antimicrobial resistance.

  • The organisation says overuse and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans is contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance.

According to the WHO, in some countries around 80% of the total consumption of medically-important antibiotics happens in the animal sector and largely this is for growth promotion in healthy animals.

Overall the WHO strongly recommends an overall reduction in the use of all classes of medically-important antibiotics in food-producing animals.

It says this should include a restriction of the use of these antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention, unless diagnosis has been made.

The WHO says healthy animals should only receive antibiotics to prevent disease if it has been diagnosed in other animals in the same flock, herd or fish population.

It also calls for antibiotics that are being used on farm animals to be selected from a list that it deems to be of lowest importance to human health.

Antibiotics that are considered to be in the last line of defence for humans should not be used at all it says.

It recommends that where possible animals should be tested to determine the most appropriate form of medicine for their illness.

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