Agriculture: Antibiotics

Department of Health written question – answered on 23rd June 2015.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about bringing forward targets for reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics in agriculture in line with comparable targets for reducing their use in medicine in the UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013-18; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect on human health of not so adjusting those targets.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013-18 was developed with close collaboration between the Department of Health, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. The collaboration continues during the implementation phase of the Strategy. This includes senior representation from these departments on the High Level Steering Group, which oversees the implementation.

The High Level Steering Group endorsed the publication in December 2014 of the annual progress report and implementation plan of the UK five year antimicrobial resistance strategy, which set out targets for reducing antimicrobial use in livestock production in real terms over the next four years.

It is recognised that the link between antibiotic use in animals and the development of antibiotic resistance in humans is complex. The Government continues to carry out research and surveillance to better understand the potential impacts of one on the other.

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