China has announced that it will join the European Union in banning the use of antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs) in food animal production, WattAgNet.com reports. When implemented, the ban could affect food animal production throughout the country. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated Chinese production at more than 4.7 billion chickens, 450 million pigs, and 84 million cattle in 2009, the most recent year for which data are available. This is clearly big news.
The use of AGPs in food animal production has long been a concern in the public health and medical communities. The administration of non-therapeutic doses of antimicrobials to increase animals’ growth rates has been found repeatedly to select for resistant bacteria. The practice could even induce mutations that make bacteria previously susceptible to antibiotics become resistant to them. Read More >