UK: Food safety fear over chicken drug that causes human resistance to food poisoning antidotes
An antibiotic used on poultry has sparked fears of new food risk after the revelation by US scientists that it generates human resistance to medicines prescribed to remedy food poisoning. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has demanded an urgent review of the use of enrofloxacin, or Baytril, which is now already banned in the US, and admitted that it is surprised that the drug "has not been shown to be safe." Baytril has been fed to broiler chickens and turkeys since 1993 in a bid to combat bacterial infections, but should not be used in the eight days prior to the culling of the bird. The Soil Association's Richard Young commented: "We have known for years that intensive livestock production is unacceptable for animal welfare. This provides more evidence it is also unacceptable for human health."Campylobacter can be a serious illness in humans, caused by a bug found in birds, and in the UK last year over 55,000 cases were recorded. In the US, the most serious cases are prescribed the drugs that appear to be affected by Baytril, but experts are questioning the extent of that course of action in the UK. The FSA has announced its plans to consult public health officials and advisers on veterinary products, but any recommendation it makes cannot be put into effect without the go-ahead of the European Commission.
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