Archive for the ‘RUMA News’ Category

RUMA welcomes further fall in UK pig sector’s antibiotic use

The latest antibiotic usage data for the UK pig sector has been announced today (30 May) by AHDB, showing further reductions throughout 2018 to 110 mg/kg (2017: 131 mg/kg) alongside another fall in use of highest-priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) to 0.06 mg/kg (2017: 0.1 mg/kg). Colistin use remains at negligible levels.

This means the sector stays on target to reach its goal of 99 mg/kg by 2020, as laid out in the Targets Task Force report.

A RUMA spokesperson said: “We welcome the news from AHDB of continuing reductions in both total and highest priority antibiotic use in the UK pig sector, and congratulate all involved in this considerable achievement.

“Reductions and refinements in antibiotic use are always going to get progressively tougher the lower we get, so it’s very positive news that change is being achieved sustainably with attention to both pig health and welfare, and food safety.”

Data for 2017 use can be found in the 2017 VARSS report from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

Farm medicines conference line-up to include leading U.S. investigative journalist

Some of the farming industry’s biggest challengers have been announced as speakers at this year’s Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) conference, to be held on 29 October at the Sainsbury’s Conference Centre in Holborn, London.

Using the theme ‘Building on Success’, the conference will examine whether recent progress in stewarding antibiotics can be maintained, and what needs to be done to better support global efforts to battle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The role of media and public opinion in achieving positive change will also be discussed, and whether UK farming’s animal health and welfare and food safety are robust enough to take advantage of opportunities as well as address upcoming market challenges.

Headlining the event will be American journalist and author on public and global health and food policy Maryn McKenna, who will be dissecting the role of the public and media in driving change in medicine stewardship.

A senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University, Ms McKenna is the author of the books Big Chicken (published in the UK under the title Plucked), Superbug, and Beating Back the Devil. She is a columnist for WIRED and a journalist for magazines including National Geographic, The New Republic and the New York Times, and her work critically examines antibiotic use in agriculture.

The Food Standards Agency will be represented at a RUMA conference for the first time, with its chair Heather Hancock opening proceedings by outlining the regulator’s vision for safe, healthy food built on farm systems which are modern, productive and demonstrate responsible use of medicines.

As at the last conference, the latest antibiotic sales data for farm animals are expected to be released by the Veterinary Medicine Directorate’s (VMD) head of Antimicrobial Resistance Dr Kitty Healey; she will also provide recent surveillance findings for antibiotic-resistance genes within farm animals and their food products, and will discuss how the industry can maintain progress and lead the world in responsible use.

While antibiotic use and AMR remain key themes in the event, broader aspects of farm animal health and welfare, emerging resistance in other pathogens and wider challenges presented by disease will be debated. Behaviour change among farmers and their veterinary surgeons, and the economic and reputational opportunities of better health and food safety will be covered as part of this.

To provide insight in these areas, the following have also been confirmed as speakers:

  • Stuart Roberts, NFU
  • Dr Shabbir Simjee, RUMA Independent Scientific Group
  • Duncan Sinclair, British Retail Consortium
  • Sue Lockhart, Red Tractor
  • Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Moredun Research Institute.
  • Dr Simon Doherty, British Veterinary Association

Dr Christine Middlemiss, the chief veterinary officer, will be concluding the event with a summary of the learnings from the day and a call to action for the next two years.

Tickets for the RUMA conference are now available on Eventbrite, with places limited. Please click on the following link to download the 2019 RUMA Conference Draft Programme PROVISIONAL

 

Response to BBC Countryfile story on ionophores

The BBC’s misrepresentation of ionophore coccidiostats in the media today is disappointing, not least because of the important and entirely legitimate role coccidiostats play in protecting animals at risk of infection from coccidian protozoa parasites. Before ionophores are legally marketed for commercial use in food-producing animals, companies have to demonstrate to the regulator (EFSA) that each product is safe and effective in the target animal species, safe for humans consuming edible products from treated animals, and safe for the environment. Ionophores have some antibacterial action but they are not classified by the EU or UK authorities as antibiotics, and there is no evidence they create any cross-resistance issues with gram negative bacteria such as E coli or zoonotic pathogens such as campylobacter or salmonella.

The British Poultry Council has more information on the use of ionophore coccidiostats on farms that produce poultry meat here.

Auctioneers and dairy beef businesses support 2019 #ColostrumIsGold

The Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA) and two of the UK’s biggest integrated beef rearing businesses, ABP Blade Farming and Meadow Quality, have announced their support for RUMA’s #ColostrumIsGold campaign, which launches today (1 February).

It is hoped that by promoting messages through their supply chains, at auction marts and in remittances, the three organisations will be able to encourage more dairy farmers especially – as well as beef and sheep farmers – to understand the benefits of getting colostrum management right in the first few hours of life.

Cattle veterinary surgeon Tim Potter from Westpoint, who works with farms that rear calves for ABP Blade Farming, says: “Born without an immune system, newborn animals need to take antibodies on board through their mothers’ colostrum. But with their stomachs only able to absorb these antibodies for a short period, it’s estimated that 95% of dairy farms don’t manage to give that all-important feed within the ideal two-hour timeframe after birth.”

He says a combination of this and poor quality colostrum means that less than a third of calves currently receive sufficient immunity, and the whole supply chain is losing out as a result. “We have a great opportunity here to reduce the need for antibiotic treatments through improved health and immunity, but also to increase daily liveweight gain and reach service or finishing weights quicker.”

Matt Nightingale of Meadow Quality says that the dairy sector in particular has huge productivity gains to make by addressing an issue that most often just needs time and patience.

“The difference good colostrum management makes is startling. Calves that have had the right quantity of the right quality colostrum quickly enough are far more productive animals,” he explains.

“They put on weight better and have a far lower incidence of diseases such as scour or pneumonia. They also handle stress periods such as arrival on the farm and weaning far better, and that’s a big win for rearers and the dairy beef sector as a whole.”

Chris Dodds of the LAA is hoping his members can help get the message out through the posters and hand out leaflets in their 110 marts around England and Wales.

“Giving calves the best start means they have better, healthier lives and they create more income in the enterprise, whether they are for breeding or for meat. That’s why we’ll be encouraging our members to raise this issue with dairy and beef farmers, but also with sheep farmers as this issue very much affects lambs as well,” he explains.

The #ColostrumIsGold campaign will run throughout February and into March. This is the second time the campaign has run following its successful launch last year when it was widely adopted by the sheep sector, achieved a reach of almost a million over Twitter and won the communications category at Public Health England’s Antibiotic Guardian Awards.

A wide range of advice including technical guides and videos is available on the website www.colostrumisgold.org to support farmers and veterinary surgeons looking to review or improve practices.

People are also encouraged to share hints, tips and experiences via Twitter and through the website using the hashtag #ColostrumIsGold. A prize draw offering a range of products to suit beef, dairy, pig and sheep farmers will be held at the end of February and anyone posting or tweeting during February using the hashtag will be automatically entered.  More information at www.colostrumisgold.org.

Please go to www.colostrumisgold.org for information, resources and prize rules.

Prize draw

The prize draw is offering the following prizes, subject to Terms and Conditions:

  • 1 x Udderly EZ ewe colostrum hand milker (RRP £170) – kindly donated by Udderly EZ
  • 1 x Store&Thaw Colostrum management kit worth (RRP £148) – kindly donated by Pyon products pyonproducts.com
  • 3 x places on an Animal Medicines Best Practice training course (RRP £71 each – winner selects option for beef, dairy, pig or sheep), developed by NOAH and run by Lantra – kindly donated by ABP Food Group (abpfoodgroup.com), Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (www.rabdf.co.uk) and NOAH www.noah.co.uk/farmer-training (three separate prizes, one place per winner, includes course only and not travel or accommodation)
  • 1 x Colostrum Refractometer (RRP £25) – kindly donated by Pyon products pyonproducts.com
  • 10 x 10% off vouchers for either the Store&Thaw management kit (RRP £148) or the Thawing Tank with Heater stirrer unit (RRP £925) – kindly donated by Pyon products pyonproducts.com (10 separate prizes)

Calf colostrum facts

Research has shown that calves with low antibody levels are more likely to become ill or to die before weaning. Conversely, higher concentrations at 1-2 days of age are linked to better health, lower mortality and higher daily liveweight gain, with animals reaching target weights more quickly:

  • Calves with low antibody levels were 1.6x more likely to become ill and 2.7x more likely to die before weaning. Higher antibody concentrations were linked to better health, lower mortality and higher liveweight gain; at 205 days, calves were on average 3.5kg heavier [1]
  • Calves with high antibody levels from colostrum reached target first service weights sooner [2]
  • Antibody concentration in the calf at 1-2 days old significantly affected average daily weight gain through to 6 months of age [3]
  • Calves fed sufficient colostrum quickly enough more than halved their risk of pneumonia [4]
  • Brown Swiss heifer calves given 2 or 4 litres of colostrum at birth were monitored for two lactations after calving. Those given 4 litres showed a 30% increase in pre-pubertal growth rate, a 16% increase in survival to the end of the second lactation and 1,026kg more milk production over those given 2 litres[5]
  • Antibodies from colostrum helped protect calves from death and poor performance from septicaemia and pneumonia, with effects lasting up to 6 months of age[6]
  • Calves with good colostrum status were a third less likely to die and half as likely to become ill[7]

Sheep facts

  • Lambs fed adequate quality colostrum at birth do not succumb to Watery Mouth[8]
  • A large number of lambs born in the UK currently receive oral antibiotics as protection:
    • Oral antibiotics were prescribed to 49% of flocks covering approximately 64% of predicted lamb crop (NB: a very small % of total antibiotic usage on sheep farms)[9]
    • A veterinary student survey on farms of housed sheep at lambing time suggested 68% of sheep farms used prophylactic oral antibiotics in neonatal lambs[10]
    • A questionnaire survey of sheep farmers supplying lambs deadweight suggested that 26% of farms gave prophylactic oral antibiotic to all neonatal lambs born on farm[5]
  • There is no significant difference in the productivity levels between flocks using prophylactic antibiotic for neonatal lambs and those that used none[11]
  • 50% of neonatal lamb E coli are resistant to spectinomycin (most common Watery Mouth treatment)[12]

Pigs facts

  • Higher colostrum intake (200ml) improves the survival rate up to weaning[13]
  • Colostrum intake above 290ml per pig at birth has led to 6-week weights being 2kg heavier[14]
  • The smaller the interval between birth and first suckle, the lower the levels of pre-weaning mortality[8]

 

  1. Dewell, R.D. et al (2006). Association of neonatal serum immunoglobulin G1 concentration with health and performance in beef calves. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 228:914–921
  2. Furman-Fratczak, K. et al (2011) The influence of colostral immunoglobulin concentration in heifer calves’ serum on their health and growth. J. Dairy Sci. 94:5536–5543
  3. Robison, J.D. et al (1988). Effects of passive immunity on growth and survival in the dairy heifer. J. Dairy Sci. 71:1283–1287.
  4. Virtala, A.M. et al (1999) The effect of maternally derived immunoglobulin G on the risk of respiratory disease in heifers during the first 3 months of life. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 39
  5. Faber, S. N. et al (2005). Case Study: Effects of colostrum ingestion on lactational performance. Prof. Anim. Scientist 21:420-425
  6. Donovan, D.A. et al (1997). Associations between passive immunity and morbidity and mortality in dairy heifers in Florida, USA. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 34 (1998) 31-46
  7. Blowey, R.W., (1986). A Veterinary Book for Dairy Farmers. Farming Press Ltd
  8. Lovatt, F., Duncan, J. and Hinde, D. (2019) Responsible Use of Antibiotics on Sheep Farms. In Practice Vol 41–1
  9. Davies, P., Remnant, J.G., Green, M.J., Gascoigne, E., Gibbon, N., Hyde, R., Porteous, J.R., Schubert, K., Lovatt, F. and Corbishley, A.(2017) Quantitative analysis of antibiotic usage in British sheep flocks Veterinary Record 181, 511
  10. Douglas, F., and Sargison, N.D. (2018) Husbandry procedures at the point of lambing with reference to perinatal lamb mortality. Veterinary Record vol. 182, no. 2, p. 52
  11. Lima, E., Lovatt, F., Davies, P. and Kaler, J. (in press). Using abattoir sales data to investigate associations between implementations of disease preventative practices and sheep flock performance
  12. VARSS 2016. (2017). Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  13. Moreira, L.P., Menegat M.B., Barros, G.P., Bernardi, M.L., Wentz, I., and Bortolozzo, F.P. (2017) Effects of colostrum, and protein and energy supplementation on survival and performance of low-birth-weight piglets. Livest. Sci. 202, 188–193
  14. Devillers N., Le Dividich, J. and Prunier, A. (2011). Influence of colostrum intake on piglet survival and immunity. Animal Aug;5(10):1605-12

RUMA response to the 2019 One Health report

We welcome the “UK One Health Report: antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in animals and humans” report published today (31 January), a long-awaited review of how human and veterinary medicine in the UK have progressed since 2013 on the One Health challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

In farming, cutting the risk of resistance developing within veterinary medicine is a primary goal as we need to preserve the antibiotics we have to ensure we can continue to treat disease and – in doing so – safeguard animal health and welfare and food safety.

However, we also need to ensure that risk to human health arising from the use of antibiotics in farm animals is kept to a minimum.

We are pleased by the progress in both these areas from measures introduced to improve stewardship, pioneered by the poultry meat sector in 2012 and implemented progressively by other sectors from 2015 onwards.

This has resulted in a 35% reduction in total tonnes of antibiotics sold for use in all UK animals, which includes farm animals, pets and horses, and a halving in use of highest priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs).

This means that in 2013, 45% of antibiotics in the UK were used to treat all animals. In 2017, it fell to 36%. Overall, 26% of total tonnes used in people and animals was specifically for food-producing animals. Furthermore, out of the total tonnes of HP-CIAs used to treat diseases in humans and animals, 22% was used in animals in 2013 and 11% in 2017.

The result is that when tonnage is corrected by bodyweight of humans and animals, the use of antibiotics was higher in humans than in food-producing animals with 123mg/kg and 37mg/kg respectively. Both sectors have reduced their use between 2013 and 2017, by 9% in people and 40% in food producing animals.

As the main objective of lowering antibiotic use is to reduce the opportunities for resistance to develop, it is also good news that overall the report shows we are seeing a reduction in the level of resistance to critical antibiotics in zoonotic bacteria from food-producing animals and retail meat.

There is more to do, including delivering the sector-specific targets set by industry by 2020, but this report will be well-received by the farming sectors as it shows that their efforts are bearing fruit.

Additional statement concerning the communication of new Government AMR strategy

RUMA has been forced to issue a clarification following a number of misleading media reports covering the launch of the Government’s new AMR strategy published yesterday (24 January), “Tackling antimicrobial resistance 2019–2024: The UK’s five-year national action plan”.

RUMA chairman Gwyn Jones says:

“While we welcome the strategy, I’m highly irritated that the impression the Defra/DoH joint press release appears to have given is that Government has ‘imposed’ further targets on the UK livestock industry, namely a reduction of 25% in antibiotic use.

“What the report itself makes clear is that a 25% reduction on 2016 sales (45mg/kg) is achievable through the extensive industry-developed and industry-led targets already in place. These are due to be delivered by 2020, and achieving these would mean reaching a sales level of 33-34mg/kg, a reduction of 25% on 2016 sales and an ambition the industry is already on track to deliver.

“The impact of this lack of clarity has been a number of media stories that detract from both the One Health message that we as a country so badly need to promote, but also the enormous efforts of our livestock sectors thus far in achieving a 40% reduction in antibiotic use over the past five years.

“The voluntary approach our livestock industry is taking is very much alive and well. But I am extremely concerned that these false impressions could demotivate and detract from the plans in place, putting in jeopardy the ambitions Government is so keen to promote.

“I would therefore like to send a message to our livestock sectors to say that their efforts have very much been recognised and appreciated, and trust has been placed in them that they will not rest there, but will continue to work towards delivering the Government-endorsed targets they have set with the support of RUMA.”

New Government AMR vision welcomed by UK farm livestock industry

A focus on animal health and disease prevention within the UK Government’s new cross-departmental antimicrobial resistance (AMR) action plan, launched today (24 January) by Secretary of State for Health the Rt Hon Matt Hancock at the World Economic Forum at Davos, has been warmly welcomed by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance.

The new 5-year National Action Plan was published alongside a longer-term ‘UK AMR 20-year Vision’, which brings together ambitions from human and animal health, environment and food chain sectors.

RUMA chairman Gwyn Jones said that together, the reports underline the 40% reduction in antibiotic use achieved by UK livestock farming since the last strategy was published five years ago. Furthermore, he added, they show the potential the industry has to be a future world leader in responsible use of antibiotics.

He said: “The new 5-year National Action Plan will support our plans to continue progress in reducing, refining or replacing antibiotic use. The chapters on food-producing animals focus on planning ahead to prevent disease wherever possible, keeping livestock healthy and ensuring appropriate and responsible use of antibiotics only where necessary to treat disease and protect animal welfare.

“There is also a strong focus on improving quality of data, a subject very much front of mind in the cattle and sheep sectors in particular at the moment.

“We are very pleased that these areas are already central to the individual sector targets developed by RUMA’s Targets Task Force in 2017. As we progress towards 2020 – when most of the targets need to be achieved – we will continue to see concerted efforts to target and eliminate endemic disease through improved use of screening and vaccines, which will undoubtedly increase animal health nationally,” he explained.

“As a consequence, we anticipate antibiotic use will continue to fall – and the aspiration expressed in the Government plan that the result will be a further 25% reduction between 2016 and 2020 is definitely achievable.”

Mr Jones said the next job would be to support each sector in looking at objectives beyond 2020. “These are likely to focus on maintaining responsible use and continuing to improve underlying heath, farm infrastructure, nutrition, genetics and preventative measures.”

Mr Jones added that he was pleased the narrative around the AMR issue in the UK had moved away from one of blame between veterinary and human healthcare, to a genuine interest in what each other is doing.

“For example, the potential presence of antibiotics and resistance genes in the environment is an area that is of growing concern to both medical and veterinary specialists. We are looking to boost our understanding of and action in this area by recruiting a specialist in environmental science to our Independent Scientific Group in the near future.

“We all need to work together – the risk of antibiotic resistance is a medical, veterinary, environmental, food and business challenge we all share. We are now working far more closely with colleagues in other disciplines and it’s evident there is much benefit to be had.”

Eminent medical researcher joins RUMA scientific group

Professor Sharon Peacock CBE, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), has joined the Independent Scientific Group which advises RUMA. She will sit alongside other eminent researchers and scientists from the veterinary, medical and microbiological field, providing insight and recommendations to inform RUMA’s policy on the responsible use of medicines in farm animals.

Professor Peacock joined the LSHTM in 2015, having previously been Professor of Clinical Microbiology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge. She is also an Honorary Faculty Member at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Her research group work focuses on the use of genome sequencing technologies in clinical and public health microbiology. Particular interests include translating sequencing technologies in routine clinical medicine to improve infection control, and characterising relationships and transmission of pathogenic bacteria between different reservoirs, including humans, livestock and the food chain, and sewage.

Speaking of her decision to join the group, Professor Peacock says she looks forward to contributing her knowledge of antimicrobial resistance, including evidence from the use of bacterial sequencing which – when combined with epidemiological information – can define how antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in people, animals and the environment may be related.

She says: “The UK farming industry is making great strides in responding to the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, especially in its reductions and clear targets. But new information is emerging all the time, and using this to target activities where they will be most effective will be beneficial for everyone.

“I look forward to working with this highly expert group and advising RUMA on policies that create the greatest opportunities for safeguarding antibiotics that are essential for human and animal health.”

Catherine McLaughlin, chair of the Independent Scientific Group, has welcomed Professor Peacock’s agreement to join the team. She says it is critical that RUMA operates to strict scientific principles and embraces opportunities to work on a One Health basis with medical and environmental counterparts.

Ms McLaughlin says: “We have seen a very positive move away from the ‘blame game’ where the medical and veterinary and farming communities blame each other for increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance. Now everyone is taking collective responsibility and working together really well under the One Health banner.

“We look forward to Professor Peacock adding further medical and environmental input to the group in its regular discussions.”

RUMA’s Independent Scientific Group, now comprises (alphabetically):

  • Professor David Barrett, Professor of Bovine Medicine, Production and Reproduction at University of Bristol (deputised by Dr Kristen Reyher, Senior Lecturer in Farm Animal Science at University of Bristol);
  • Dr Ian Brown, Consultant Clinical Research Fellow at Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals and Chairman of the Government’s Advisory Committee on Animal Feedstuffs;
  • Professor Mark Fielder, Professor of Medical Microbiology at Kingston University;
  • Professor Nigel Gibbens, former Chief Veterinary Officer and consultant with Itinerant Vets Ltd;
  • Mr Daniel Parker, avian expert for UK government, technical advisor to the British Poultry Council and lecturer at Cambridge University Veterinary School;
  • Professor Sharon Peacock, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at LSHTM
  • Dr Shabbir Simjee, Technical Advisor in Microbiology & Antimicrobials, Elanco Animal Health;
  • Mr Martin Smith, Lead Veterinary Surgeon, British Quality Pigs

Since 2014, the UK livestock farming industry has reduced use of antibiotics by 40% and is currently working on reaching a number of sector-specific targets for reducing, refining or replacing antibiotic use by 2020.

 

New report shows progress in achieving farm antibiotic targets to reduce, refine & replace

Twelve months after industry-led targets for antibiotic use were identified for all main farm livestock species in the UK, a review of progress has been released, including details of where targets have been achieved early and where challenges remain.

The ‘One Year On’ report, issued today (16 November) by RUMA’s Targets Task Force, is a follow up to the work of the group in 2017, when a leading farmer and veterinary surgeon from each sector identified different starting points and potential for reduction in each species then worked with their respective sectors to gain support for the plans [1].

RUMA’s secretary general Chris Lloyd says this new review not only shows the transparency and accountability with which each sector is addressing its targets, but also collects information on progress into one place.

“The UK farming industry has already achieved reductions of 40% in sales of antibiotics over the past five years [2] and is one of the lowest users of antibiotics in Europe. However, delivering against these and future sector-specific goals will be key to meeting the government’s ambitions in its new 5-year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy, to be released early next year,” he explains.

“What this review shows is the industry as a whole is committed and making good progress – but also that the sectors are all in very different places.

“Some species have met their targets already but now, with a measure of what’s happening in their sector, they know they can go further and are working on new goals. For others at or around their optimal level of use, progress is about animal health, continual refinements to what they do and working to overcome new diseases threats as they emerge.”

He says the pig sector is on track to meet its ambitious target reductions by 2020 but there is awareness of how much tougher it will get each year to deliver the changes needed; next steps could require investment or some brave decision-making for some.

“Cattle and sheep farmers and their veterinary surgeons are also working on a range of interventions, although a lack of representative data on antibiotic use across these specific sectors continues to be a challenge. If they had access to better data, this would give them more clarity over what is actually being used, and when – and where – improvements could be made.”

Mr Lloyd also stresses the importance of responsible reductions that do not compromise animal health and its associated welfare.

“The approach has to be sustainable with an end-goal of optimal – not zero – use. Antibiotics play an important role in preventing pain and suffering in our farm livestock as well as ensuring food safety. This is why it’s important to judge progress against the whole range of qualitative and quantitative measures in the review.”

Download RUMA TTF 1 year on – Full Report FINAL here.

[1] Targets Task Force report. RUMA, October 2017 https://www.ruma.org.uk/targets-task-force/

[2] Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/veterinary-antimicrobial-resistance-and-sales-surveillance-2017

 

Response to FSA surveillance report on antimicrobial-resistant E. coli in meat

RUMA welcomes the latest antibiotic resistance surveillance report from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), published today. The positive news is that levels of antimicrobial resistant E. coli in UK retail meat remain low. This is consistent with the findings of other recent UK surveillance which has found that the number and levels of antibiotic-resistant isolates is not increasing, or is even reducing in some areas, despite the complexity of the relationship between antibiotic use and the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The anomaly of the mcr-1 gene found in the imported (non-UK) beef sample as reported by the FSA appears to be a one-off incident. However, while isolation of a colistin-resistant organism does not mean that colistin has been used in that animal, this finding has given all sectors an opportunity to review current tight measures regarding use of Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs).

All veterinary organisations covering the main farm animal species in the UK have restricted use of colistin to absolute last resort or eliminated its use completely over the past three years. Regarding the specific situation in cattle, the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) issued guidance in January 2017 that colistin should only be used as last resort when no other options remain to safeguard animal welfare, and once sensitivity testing has been carried out.

Further safeguards are in place through Red Tractor, which covers 85% of UK beef production, stating that HP-CIAs for the beef, lamb and dairy sectors must only used as a last resort under veterinary direction alongside sensitivity and/or diagnostic testing.

For context, sales of colistin in UK farm animals have fallen 99% since 2013, and just 7kg in total was used in 2017. This is one thousandth of the EU recommended maximum.

site powered by penguins
Ruma