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Livestock: Colistin

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to ban the use of colistin in farming.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

There are currently no plans to ban the sale of colistin. Colistin is classed as a Highest Critically Important Antibiotic (HP-CIA) meaning that this type of antibiotic is reserved as a last-line treatment for clinical conditions where no alternatives exist. In some instances, colistin may be the only effective means of treating certain animal diseases.

The UK Government is committed to working with livestock sectors to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use and there have been many successes over the last few years including the sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals decreasing by 53% in the last five years. Colistin is one of the least commonly used antibiotics in animals in the UK and its use in food-producing animals has reduced by 99% to a very low level.

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