To keep resistant bacteria out of human foods, the European Parliament has informally agreed on plans to curb the use of antibiotics on farms.
“This is a major step forward for public health,” said rapporteur Françoise Grossetête (EPP, FR) on June 6. “Indeed, beyond farmers or animal owners, the use of veterinary medicines concerns us all, because it has a direct impact on our environment and our food, in short, on our health.”
Grossetête explained that the use of antibiotics on livestock farms is transmitted to humans. “Antibiotic resistance is a real sword of Damocles, threatening to send our healthcare system back to the Middle Ages,” she added.
According to the draft law, which will be put to a vote in the European Parliament’s Environment committee during its 20-21 June meeting, veterinary medicines must never serve to improve performance or compensate for poor animal husbandry.
What is more, metaphylactic use (treating a group of animals when one shows signs of infection) should happen only where no appropriate alternative exists, and after diagnosis and justification from a veterinarian.