The three big international food health agencies are proposing that global rules are developed to fight anti-microbial resistance caused by the feeding of antibiotics to livestock, blunting their effectiveness in consumers of meat and dairy products.

Recommendations have been developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Office International des Épizooties (OIE) and the World Health Organisation following a joint-workshop.

They have suggested the development of risk assessments for using these veterinary medicines that includes a “threshold of resistance” concept triggering controls if such drugs are over-used. They also proposed that a class of antibiotics be established – “critically-important” to humans – whose use in animals should be banned outright.