The European Bureau of Consummation Unions (BEUC) launched a Europe-wide campaign on Monday to warn of the dangers of the automatic use of antibiotics on livestock, during the Journée European d’information sur les antibiotiques (Europe antibiotic information day), it said in a press release. The BEUC revealed they have the results of tests done by member organizations on raw meat sold in 9 European countries. “In Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Germany, as well as Portugal and the Netherlands, between 72% and 98% of the poultry meat samples were contaminated by bacteria resistant to antibiotics”, the study concludes. “Samples of meat tested in France contained super-bacteria, meaning bacteria resistant to several types of antibiotics”.
The BEUC draws attention to the fact that “the more we use antibiotics, the more the bacteria will develop resistance. Inappropriate and overuse generates resistance, which can affect us through several channels, including our food”.
“European rules currently in force are not sufficient. Even though the use of antibiotics to stimulate growth was banned in the EU in 2006, antibiotics are still given to prevent illness, even when the entire herd or flock is in good health”, says Monique Goyen, Director General of the BEUC.
“Good practice would be to reduce the use of antibiotics for animals that will end up as our food. In Denmark, for example, the use of antimicrobials on birds has fallen by 90% in 13 years. We should only give antibiotics to sick animals, not those in good health”.