UK sets new antibiotics target for livestock and fish

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UK has backed the recommendation of an independent review calling for a further cut in antibiotic use in livestock and fish farmed for food to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The Government said it is committed to a target of reducing antibiotic use to a “multi-species average of 50mg/kg, using methodology harmonised across other countries in Europe”, by 2018.

The target, which the Government said compares to the most recent 2014 level of 62mg/kg of antibiotic use, is in response to the findings of an AMR review set up by former prime minister David Cameron and led by Lord Jim O’Neill.

In a joint foreword to a Government report responding to the review’s findings, Andrea Leadsom, the UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Jeremy Hunt, the country’s Health Secretary, said: “There is a real risk that, if we do nothing, modern medicine as we know it will be undermined.”

The ministers said: “Jim O’Neill is a distinguished economist and has brought not only the skills and analysis of an economist to the problem of drug resistance, but also his understanding of emerging economies. He has identified the huge scale of the challenge, but also the concrete steps we can and must take.”

The UK “will work closely with different individual sectors to ensure that appropriate sector specific reduction targets are agreed by 2017 so that future reductions are greatest where there is most scope, and that they are underpinned by improvements which focus on encouraging best practice and responsible use of antibiotics and which safeguard animal health and welfare”, the government report said. Read more…

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