Germany Raises Concerns over Antibiotic Use

GERMANY - The German Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) has launched a package of measures to gain better control of the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry.
calendar icon 28 November 2011
clock icon 3 minute read
By: Jim

The way data is collected and processed will be changed to make the use of antibiotics more transparent and to develop ways to fight resistance.

Data about the use of antibiotics in poultry production will now also be collected.

"The use of antibiotics will be better monitored and the use of data will be newly regulated by a targeted package of measures by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection," the agriculture ministry said.

The move comes at a time when the EU has launched a number of measures to crack down on improper use of antibiotics and when concerns over their misuse have been rising in Germany.

Johannes Remmel from North Rhine-Westphalia’s consumer protection agency said the results of a study he commissioned – the first of its kind in Germany – have shown 96 per cent of the more than 10 million birds in the state have been treated with antibiotics.

"The results have caused me a lasting nausea," he said, explaining that the numbers vastly exceed previous estimates and are likely similar nationwide. He said government should put in place stricter regulations of the practice in order to protect consumers.

According to The Local, the German Farmers’ Association and the German Poultry Association, both of which represent poultry producers, have launched an initiative to reduce antibiotic use in chickens by 30 per cent in the next five years.

However, the groups added in a statement, poultry currently remains "safe to eat."

According to German law, antibiotics are only supposed to be given to sick animals and officials have promised in the past to control their use more carefully.

The French Ministry of Agriculture has also announced plans to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance through veterinary medicine.

The government has said that it will aim to reduce the use of antibiotic in animal medicine by 25 per cent over the next five year. It will focus on developing alternative medicines.

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