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World Health Day highlights the dangers of antibiotics

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the theme of the World Health Day 2011 (7 April). AMR and its global spread threatens the continued effectiveness of many drugs used today to treat serious diseases.

Antibiotics are being used in food animals for treatment, but also for disease prevention and in many countries also for growth promotion. Use of antibiotics in food animals, which in many countries seems to outweigh antibiotic use for human therapy, has important public health consequences.

Use of antibiotics in food animals selects for resistant bacteria and resistance genes that can be passed on to humans, usually through food, but also by direct contact with food animals or through environmental spread: antimicrobial resistance is therefore a food safety problem.

This information (where antibiotics are used in production) does not appear on food labels and consumers need to be aware and voice concerns on a world wide level.

Read about WHO’s AMR containment strategy and new evidence and approaches here: http://www.who.int/world-health-day/en/index.html.

Read the WHO publication Tackling antibiotic resistance from a food safety perspective in Europe here: http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-do/health-topics/disease-prevention/food-safety/publications/2012/tackling-antibiotic-resistance-from-a-food-safety-perspective-in-europe

Source: Food Safety News: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/newsletter/42/en/

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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