Superbug fears as supermarket pig farms escalate use of antibiotics
The use of certain antibiotics deemed critical to human health has surged on British pig farms supplying major supermarkets, prompting fresh concerns about the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Previously unpublished industry data seen by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Vet Record and the Guardian shows the use of a class of antibiotics prescribed for various infections in humans more than doubled on UK pig farms between 2015 and 2019, with experts warning of a potential further rise because of impending changes to the sector.
The Bureau’s investigation has established the drugs are in use on pig farms supplying pork to Tesco and Waitrose.
The increase in usage of this class of drugs, known as aminoglycosides, came even as livestock farmers in the UK cut back on the overall use of antibiotics following stark warnings that the drug resistance crisis could lead to the deaths of millions of people around the world by 2050.
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