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Food safety the theme for World Health Day 2015- Lynn Boylan MEP

7 April, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has drawn attention to the overuse of antibiotics in food producing animals. 

Speaking today from Dublin, the GUE NGL group spokesperson on the issue said:

“The theme for this year’s World Health Day is Food Safety and one area of food safety that is often forgotten is the overuse of antibiotics in food producing animals.

Scientists have shown strong evidence that antibiotic use in food producing animals can have a negative impact on public health through contributing to antimicrobial resistance."

The World Health Organisation has stated that anti-microbial resistance (AMR) is one of the most significant global threats to public health and in Europe alone, 25,000 people die each year of deaths linked to anti-microbial resistance.

Anti microbial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.

The Sinn Féin MEP added:

"The resistant bacteria can contaminate the foods that come from food producing animals, and the people who consume these foods can develop antibiotic-resistant infections.

As consumers of these foods, we can only ensure that we cook and handle the product properly.  

However food production methods could make a significant step in reducing resistance. 

At next week’s vote on this issue in the Environment and Public Health Committee I will be calling for more prudent use of antibiotics in livestock by improving animal health through disease prevention, good management and better diagnostics when an animal get sick. 

We should be looking at countries who have successfully taken on this challenge. In Denmark antibiotic use in poultry and pork has been reduced by 90% and 50%, respectively in just 13 years, with little or no negative impact to the industry.

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