Food Safety Conference

UK needs to be more vocal on global meat antibiotic use

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The UK’s meat sector needs to be more vocal in encouraging Asian countries to cut antibiotic use, as treatment here has significantly reduced, says the British Poultry Council’s (BPC’s) Reg Smith.

Speaking in this exclusive video interview, filmed at the Food Manufacture Group’s food safety conference, Smith said the UK’s antibiotic use was nowhere near as high as other parts of the world, particularly in India and China.

Smith, who is chairman of the BPC’s Antibiotic Stewardship Scheme and also agriculture director at Faccenda, said: “What we do in the UK isn’t even a scratch on the table. There is very large usage in countries like India and China, but it is very difficult for the UK to be the leader on the world stage of antibiotics, if we have not got our own house in order.

‘A big hurdle to jump’

“Once we’re in that position – which BPC members are now, and the other meat sectors in the UK are getting there – then you can be more vociferous on the world stage to countries like India and China. But, that’s a big hurdle to jump to get there.”

Also in this video, Smith described how BPC members reduced their antibiotic use.

“We got the farmers together, and we started a data collection system,” Smith said. “That gave us a benchmark, and against that we set a number of priorities.”

‘A number of priorities’

The priorities included a blanket ban on certain types of antibiotics, and only using medicine when animals were definitely sick.

Food Manufacture’s food safety conference took place on June 22 at Woodland Grange, Leamington Spa. The conference, chaired by Campden BRI director general Professor Steven Walker, was sponsored by: Checkit, Dycem, eurofins, Ishida, Pal International and Westgate Factory Dividers.

Meanwhile, watch out for more reports and video interviews from Food Manufacture Group’s food safety conference next week.

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