The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics has welcomed decisions by leading supermarkets M&S and Waitrose to publish data on antibiotic use in their supply chains. This will enable better targeting of action to reduce farm antibiotic use.
As reported in today’s Guardian newspaper, M&S today became the first British supermarket to publish its antibiotic-use data. In response to the article, Waitrose has published its own data, which it had planned to release in the new year.
The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics - coordinated by Compassion in World Farming, Soil Association and Sustain, welcomed this move. Scientific advisor to the alliance Cóilín Nunansaid: “We very much welcome M&S’s and Waitrose’s decisions to publish data on their suppliers’ antibiotic use. We want to see all supermarkets increase transparency for consumers by publishing similar data. Several other supermarkets have already collected data, but are so far refusing to publish it.”
Both data sets show antibiotic-use levels which are well below industry averages. M&S data covers only pig, chicken and dairy farming, but shows that their pig and chicken farmers are using less than one quarter of UK averages.
Waitrose data is much more comprehensive, additionally covering beef cattle, lamb, turkeys, ducks, egg production and farmed fish. Antibiotic use in Waitrose’s pig and chicken suppliers is about one third or less of the industry averages, and use in turkeys is about one sixth of the average.
Nunan said: “The publication of this data should help drive average use across the farming industry down, as it illustrates the extent to which many other producers are still overusing antibiotics, despite recent cuts.
We are also calling for all supermarkets to publish antibiotic-use data by farming system, so that consumers can compare free-range and organic farming with indoor farming and intensive systems.”
Note to editors
Antibiotic use in mg of active per kg of Population Correction Unit
The Population Correction Unit is a European Union technical unit measuring the size of a livestock population.
Published 20 Dec 2017
Save Our Antibiotics: The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is a coalition of health, medical, environmental and animal welfare groups campaigning to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming.
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