Humans have an extremely minimal risk of developing resistance to antibiotics used in food-producing animals. That is the conclusion of a group of veterinarians, animal health experts, human microbiologists and risk assessors who met last week at the Interscience Conference on Antibicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

“In 50 years of antibiotic use in animals and man, the development of resistance in animals has not made a major impact on human and animal health, and such a development seems unlikely to happen overnight now,” says group chairman, Ian Phillips, M.D., University of London.

The group also discussed the growing controversy over the use of subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics and the potential adverse effects of an antibiotic ban on animal health and well-being. The group concluded that banning antibiotics in animals isn’t useful and could be harmful to human and animal health. This is good news for the animal health industry as Congress continues to look at legislation banning some or all antibiotics for food-producing animals.

“Rather than banning the use of antibiotics in animals, we believe that efforts should focus on reducing the transmission of all foodborne pathogens regardless of their antibiotic susceptibility,” contends Phillips.

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PRNewswire, Animal Health Institute