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Retailers move to reassure consumers over chicken safety after drug seizure

23.10.2019
Příroda
A shipment of Chinese antibiotics, headed for a Northern Ireland poultry farm, has sparked an investigation into food securityRetailers and the poultry industry have attempted to reassure consumers on the safety of chicken, after a seizure of Chinese antibiotics suspected to be destined for unregulated use on a poultry farm in Northern Ireland.The County Tyrone farm suspected of trying to source the antibiotics is now at the centre of an investigation by the Northern Ireland Department of Health. It sends chickens to the processing company Moy Park, a major supplier to UK retailers including Tesco, Ocado and Sainsbury's. Investigators have not confirmed publicly whether this is an isolated incident or whether poultry containing antibiotic residues could have been entering the retail food chain for an extended period.The antibiotic seized is believed to have been amoxicillin, which is approved for use as a veterinary medicine in the UK, but is supposed to be administered only under veterinary supervision. It may not be used as a growth promoter, a practice banned in the EU since 2006. The widespread use of antibiotics in farming is leading to the development of germs that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics used in human health. Food industry analysts said the financial incentives to use low doses of antibiotics as a way of boosting growth rates were enormous."If you administer growth-promoting antibiotics and get a 10% reduction in feed costs, that is a substantial boost to your profit margin. It's also unfair competition to honest farmers and a risk to public health through the development of germs that are resistant to antibiotics," said Erik Millstone, professor of science policy at the University of Sussex.A spokesperson for the British Poultry Council, of which Moy Park is a member, said consumers could be reassured that antibiotic residues would not be present in chicken meat. "The UK has an effective statutory veterinary residue surveillance scheme in accordance with EC legislation. There are strict regulations governing withdrawal period (how much time passes between when an animal is last treated with antibiotics and when it leaves the farm) that ensures that there are no residues in the meat," said the spokesperson.It is understood that steps have been taken to ensure that the chickens at the farm at the centre of the investigation will not enter the food chain. Moy Park also said in a statement that the poultry industry in Northern Ireland was subject to a testing programme by government vets. "All test results across our supply farms have been negative," said a spokesperson. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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