World health agencies back global rules regulating antibiotics in feed

April 14, 2004, Three of the world’s most influential food health agencies are pushing for global rules regulating the feeding of antibiotics to livestock.

Recommendations have been developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Office International des Épizooties (OIE) and the World Health Organization following a joint-workshop. The recommendations stem from mutual concern over anti-microbial resistance developing in humans who eat the drug laden livestock.

They have suggested the development of risk assessments for using these veterinary medicines that includes a “threshold of resistance” concept triggering controls if such drugs are over-used. They also proposed that a class of antibiotics be established - “critically-important” to humans - whose use in animals should be banned outright.