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home articles Herd Health |

Antibiotic resistance in livestock continues to receive bad press

published: January 11th 2017
source: Beef Cattle Browsing, Texas A&M

A recent publication by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations addresses effects of antibiotic resistance due to use in livestock production. The opening sentence of the Executive Summary of the paper states, “It is now accepted that increased antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria affecting humans and animals in recent decades is primarily influenced by an increase in usage of antimicrobials for a variety of purposes, including therapeutic and non-therapeutic uses in animal production”. However, later in the paper are found statements such as

  • Food is likely to be the most important pathway from livestock to humans, although direct evidence linking AMR emergence in humans to food consumption is lacking.
  • A high prevalence of multidrug-resistant Campylobacter strains has been detected in organic pig farms in the U. S. even in the absence of antimicrobial use.
  • Evidence is lacking regarding AMR transmission pathways between food animals and humans.
  • There remains little doubt that the most significant factor in AMR emergence in humans is antimicrobial use for human treatment and prevention.

However, notwithstanding the last statement, there also appears to be little if any doubt that use of antimicrobials in food animal production that are important in human medicine will come under increased scrutiny and regulation, especially for non-therapeutic uses.

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