Knowledge for better food systems

Pressure for antibiotic cuts increasing but industry still resistant to change

This article by the Sustainable Food Trust summarises and reviews the latest report by The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. The author highlights the calls by the Review’s chair, Jim O’Neill, for a decreased use of antibiotics - especially those of most use in human medicine - worldwide, and presents the evidence laid out in the report and elsewhere for the link between veterinary use of antibiotics in livestock and increased antimicrobial resistance in human pathogens.

The author of the article draws particular attention to the continuing opposition to these viewpoints from industry leaders, who reportedly deny these links and oppose the reduction of antibiotic use in farm animals. The author also remarks that while 72% of academic scientists researching this matter do indeed find a link between preventative agricultural use of antibiotics and resistance in human medicine, only 26% of scientists affiliated to industry or government do so.

The article concludes that the severity and long-term nature of the antimicrobial resistance problem is such as to warrant a restriction on all antibiotic use that is not for human medicinal purposes, and expresses the hope that the Review is taken into serious consideration by governments and industry leaders worldwide.

Read the article here.

You can find related resources in the research Library categories on health issues, animal issues, agricultural and aquatic systems and see the keyword categories: antibiotics and other drugs, animal ethics, health concerns.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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