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EU & US Consumer Groups Demand Ban on Antibiotics
in Human Food and Animal Feeds


Wire Service: RTf (Reuters Financial Report)
Date: Mon, Apr 26, 1999

BRUSSELS, April 26 (Reuters) - The European Union and the United States
should ban the use of antibiotics in animal and human foodstuffs because of
the risks they pose to human health, a transatlantic consumer interest
group said on Monday.
The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), in Brussels last week for
one of its regular meetings, said humans were becoming resistant to the
medical benefits of antibiotics because they were eating meat which
contained growth-promoting antibiotics.
"Because of the potential risks to human and animal health, the TACD
calls on the governments of the US and EU to institute a total ban on the
non-medical use of antibiotics in animal and food production," the TACD
said in a statement.
The use of antibiotics to boost animal growth should be outlawed and "a
ban on the prophylactic use of antibiotics, except where disease has been
identified in an animal or within a group of animals" put in place, it
added.
The TACD's position is set to worry big multinational pharmaceutical
makers of yield-boosting drugs which stand to lose millions of dollars
should their products be banned.
Farmers add minute quantities of antibiotics to feedstuffs for pigs and
poultry to boost meat yields by keeping animals healthy and free of
disease.
The EU in December banned four antibiotics from animal feed for the
same health-related reasons, prompting an angry response from companies
such as Pfizer <PFE.N> of the United States and Rhone Poulenc <RHON.PA> of
France, both affected.
The companies argued the ban had no scientific justification and would
make meat more expensive, damage the environment and distort competition.
EU scientists are now considering banning other antibiotics and are
expected to reach an overall opinion on the link between human resistance
to antibiotics and their use in animal feed by the end of May, EU officials
told Reuters on Monday.
The TACD also said it thought the EU and the United States should
institute a permanent ban on the use of the hormone bovine somatotrophin
(BST) which is injected into cows to boost their milk yields.
An EU ban on BST is due to expire at the end of 1999 when it will come
up for review.

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