RUMA announces voluntary restrictions on colistin use in UK livestock

The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) is pleased to announce voluntary restrictions on colistin use in UK livestock.

RUMA members considered the recent article in Lancet Infectious Disease reporting that a new gene that makes common bacteria resistant to colistin, a last-line antibiotic, had been found in animals and patients in China. They noted that the EU had called for a revised risk assessment on colistin use in animals and agreed, pending the results of the risk assessment, that colistin use will be restricted to an antibiotic of last resort and will be used only after susceptibility testing had shown it was the only effective antibiotic available for treating the sick animals. It was agreed that the Secretary General would propose this to the vet groups using colistin (pigs, poultry and cattle) to seek their agreement.

John FitzGerald, RUMA Secretary General, said that RUMA had consulted the veterinary sectors who use colistin and they had agreed to restrict their use of colistin while the risks were being re-assessed. He said this was a positive and proportionate response particularly as no E Coli colistin resistance in the UK was reported in the latest surveillance results.


  1. RUMA is an alliance of 24 organisations representing every stage of the “farm to fork” process which aims to promote a co-ordinated and integrated approach to best practice in the use of medicines on farm. For further information contact RUMA Secretary General John FitzGerald ( or see the RUMA website
  1. RUMA has formulated comprehensive guidelines for the responsible use of antimicrobials in livestock production. These give advice on all aspects from application and responsibilities of the farmer and veterinary surgeon, to strategies for reduced usage.
  1. The Lancet article can be found at
  1. The latest surveillance results are on page 95 of the UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report 2014 which can be found at