Food Watchdog FSA Pledge To Cut Antibiotic Use In Chicken

Food Standard’s Agency Say Consumers Face ‘Significant Threat’

06.09.2016

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Expert Public Health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say that the level of antibiotics used in chicken farms must be controlled sufficiently after a quarter of sampled supermarket chickens contained strains of the potentially fatal bacteria, E.Coli.

The government food watchdog, Food Standards Agency (FSA), has pledged to cut the amount of antibiotics used in farming meat and have said that consumers face a ‘significant threat’ to health from exposure to the antibiotic-resistant superbug.

A report from the University of Cambridge shows strains of bacteria E.coli were found on 24 per cent of 92 chicken samples from leading supermarkets; Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisions, Waitrose, the Co-op and Aldi. 

E.coli is a bacterial infection that can cause severe stomach pain, bloody diarrhoea, kidney failure and sometimes death. The bacterium can be found in the gut and faeces of many animals, including cattle. 

E.coli bugs have mutated to develop a resistance to antibiotics known as antimicrobial resistance; therefore anyone who falls ill after coming into contact with these bacteria will be harder to cure. 

The FSA is working with government departments, supermarkets and farms to reduce the amount of antibiotics used on farms. They are carrying out their own tests which are due to be released later this year. 

Jatinder Paul, an Associate Solicitor and expert Public Health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: 

Expert Opinion
“As we have seen in the media recently there has been a rise of E.coli cases and tragically some of these have been fatal.

“The research conducted by the government into levels of antibiotics put into farming chickens needs to be thorough and immediate. Not only do consumers have a risk of food poisoning with not cooking meat correctly or cross-contamination, but there is now a risk of falling ill from the antibiotic resistant superbug, which can lead to developing further diseases that could be incurable.

“We fully support the FSA’s pledge to cut the levels of antibiotics used in farming and hope that results will help provide safer foods for consumers.”

Jatinder Paul, Associate