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Antibiotic cut pledge from FSA following E.coli discovery

07 September 2016

There has been a quick reaction from the Food Standards Agency following the discovery of high levels of antibiotic-resistant E.coli bacteria in supermarket meat earlier this week.

This resulted in a pledge by the FSA to reduce the use of antibiotics on farms while acknowledging the 'significant threat' to human health from antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Testing was carried out by the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics and spokesperson Emma Rose described the FSA promise to work with food businesses and retailers as "fantastic".

"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," she said.

"Such practices are putting our health at risk - and should have no place in the supply chains responsible UK supermarkets."

Ms Rose also described the British Retail Consortium (BRC) statement, which said "mass treatment of animals is not legally permitted", as "incorrect".

"Mass medication accounts for about 88% of UK farm antibiotic use and is likely to be par-for-the-course within supermarket supply chains," she said.

She further stated that a call for a ban on routine mass medication of animals was expected from the BRC.

A call for people to write to the major supermarkets has been issued by the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics to ask them to ban the routine use of antibiotics in meat supply chains and support farmers to change the system.

The campaign has received the support of Zac Goldsmith MP.

The alliance consists of 58 supporting members representing more than 500 organisations.

Founded by Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain, it is also supported by the Jeremy Collier Foundation.

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