MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The food industry’s ‘over-use’ of antibiotics on animals is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that affects humans, the World Health Organization says.
In a new report, the organization says a ‘misuse’ or ‘over-use’ of antibiotics on food-producing animals has already caused some types of bacteria, that cause serious infections in humans, to be resistant to most or all treatments.
“A lack of effective antibiotics is as serious a security threat as a sudden and deadly disease outbreak,” says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.
They’re recommending farmers and those in the food industry to stop using antibiotics to make the animal grow or to prevent diseases.
Instead, they suggest, healthy animals should only receive antibiotics to prevent a disease if it has been diagnosed in other animals within the same group.
“Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe,” said Ghebreyesus.
Interventions that restrict the use of antibiotics on food-producing animals reduced antibiotic-resistant bacteria in animals by up to 39%, according to a review published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
It’s research used by WHO to come up with new guidelines on what antibiotics should be used if necessary on food-producing animals.
Some countries have already cracked down on the use of antibiotics on animals.
In 2006, the European Union limited the use of antibiotics by not allowing them to be used on animals to promote growth.
Some food chains have also adopted an “antibiotic-free” policy for their meat supplies.
In place of ‘over-using’ antibiotics, the organization also recommends improved hygiene, vaccines and changing the way the industry houses animals.