The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and EMA (European Medicines Authority) joint scientific opinion on measures to reduce the use of antibiotics in European animal husbandry has been published today. It is one of the most pressing public health problems at a global level.

The experts have examined the measures adopted by the European Union to reduce the use of antimicrobials in animals, underlining the need for ‘a multifaceted and integrated approach, that takes account of local livestock production systems and that involves all relevant stakeholders, from the government to the farmer”.

Antonia Ricci, the director of the Food safety Department of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, and chair of the EFSA’s BIOHAZ panel (the group of experts on microbiological dangers that have written the document) says:

“This Scientific Opinion is the result of many months work and has involved experts from both the fields of antibiotic-resistance (EFSA – European Food Safety Authority) and that of veterinarian drug use (EMA – European Medicines Agency).

It represents a fundamental element in the One-health approach to the problem of antibiotic–resistance at a European level. In fact, the European Commission has asked both agencies to consider measures that can reduce the need to use antibiotics in animal husbandry, and to quantify the impact on food safety and to propose alternatives.

“The conclusions of this work underline that the problem should be approached from all angles and from an interdisciplinary perspective, and by putting animal health and welfare at the center as an essential condition for the significant reduction of the use of veterinary, will allow a viable way-ahead to be followed that brings positive consequences for public health”.

By the end of 2017, the agency will propose a list of indexes that enable risk managers to monitor the reduction of antimicrobial resistance and their use in humans, in farm animals and food.

Read the EFSA scientific opinion »