Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do antibiotics in animal feed pose a serious risk to human health?

Date:
July 11, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
As fears rise over antibiotic resistance, two experts debate whether adding antibiotics to animal feed poses a serious risk to human health.

As fears rise over antibiotic resistance, two experts on the British Medical Journal website today debate whether adding antibiotics to animal feed poses a serious risk to human health.

Related Articles


David Wallinga from Keep Antibiotcs Working: the Campaign to End Antibiotic Overuse in Animal Agriculture, believes that physicians and policymakers have "overlooked the critical role played by the ongoing overuse of antibiotics in livestock and poultry."

He understands the interest in creating a pipeline of new antibiotics, but says overall reductions in antibiotic use "should come first."

He points to data showing that, in 2009-11, 72% of all US sales of antimicrobials comprised those routinely added to water or animal feed.

These, he says, are "additives in feed given routinely, without a prescription, at lower than therapeutic concentrations, for purposes such as growth promotion and to control disease in otherwise healthy animals being raised in crowded or unhygienic conditions that promote disease."

Wallinga argues that, contrary to claims by some in the livestock and drug industries, "routine antibiotics are not necessary for animal health." He points to Denmark, the world's leading pork exporter, which reduced antimicrobial use in livestock production by 60% while increasing pork production by half since 1994.

Based on a growing body of evidence, almost every European and North American public health authority agrees that routine antibiotic use in animal food production likely worsens the epidemic of resistance, he writes. "Less certain is the political will to act upon that information," he concludes.

But Veterinarian, David Burch, argues that medicated animal feed "poses no additional risk of resistance development than giving a human patient an oral antimicrobial."

He explains that some countries, such as the Netherlands, have banned routine use of antibiotics in animal feed, mainly over concerns about an increase in MRSA.

But Burch argues that use of antibiotics in feed was not associated with an increase in MRSA because "no products which directly select for MRSA are registered for use in feed in the European Union." It is mainly older antibiotics that are licensed for use in feed in the UK, he explains.

He believes that how bacteria, which might carry resistant genes, are transmitted to humans must be considered, but says, given the thorough risk assessments concerning antimicrobial resistance by the regulatory authorities, "it is considered highly unlikely that the use of adding antibiotics to feed poses a serious risk to humans, especially in comparison with the extensive use of antibiotics directly in human patients."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Wallinga, D. G. S. Burch. Does adding routine antibiotics to animal feed pose a serious risk to human health? BMJ, 2013; 347 (jul09 3): f4214 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f4214

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Do antibiotics in animal feed pose a serious risk to human health?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130711084851.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, July 11). Do antibiotics in animal feed pose a serious risk to human health?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130711084851.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Do antibiotics in animal feed pose a serious risk to human health?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130711084851.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Ancient techniques of growing greens with fish and water are well ahead of Toronto bylaws. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chihuahua Sleeps on Top of Great Dane

Chihuahua Sleeps on Top of Great Dane

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) As this giant Great Dane lays down for bedtime he accompanied by an adorable companion. Watch a tiny Chihuahua jump up and prepare to sleep on top of his friend. Now that&apos;s a pretty big bed! Credit to &apos;emma_hussey01&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Newsy (Jan. 27, 2015) The Food and Agriculture Organization says millions could face famine in Madagascar without more funding to finish locust eradication efforts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins