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U.S. use of antibiotics in poultry 16 times higher than in UK

Staff Writer |
Antibiotic use in U.S. poultry production is 3 times higher than the UK and 5 times higher for turkeys, according to a report by the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics.

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"In the UK, the information has been based on collections by the British Poultry Council and the National Pig Association of actual usage data, and on a large survey of cattle farms. Very recently published information by some supermarkets supplements this data.

"In the U.S., the data has been based on pharmaceutical-industry estimates of the species breakdown of their sales, which they must now provide to the FDA.

"Our findings show that in terms of mg of active ingredient of antibiotic per tonne of livestock unit (PCU):

- use in U.S. pigs is about twice as high as use in UK pigs
- use in U.S. chickens is about 3 times as high as use in UK chickens
- use in U.S. turkeys is about 5 times as high as use in UK turkeys
- use in U.S. cattle use is about 9-16 times as high as use in UK cattle
- use in all food animals in the U.S. is about 5 times as high as use in the UK.

At present, the European Union has a ban on the importation of U.S. beef, due to the use of growth hormones in the cattle in the U.S.

However, post-Brexit, there exists the possibility that the UK will allow U.S. beef to be imported as part of a trade deal with the U.S.

The finding that antibiotic use in U.S. cattle is 9 to 16 times higher than it is in British cattle, raises further concerns about the ways in which U.S. beef is produced, and the potential dangers it may pose to consumers," the Alliance said.

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