June 1, 2018


FAO head calls for immediate stop to antibiotic use as growth enhancer



Antimicrobials continue to be used as growth promoters in livestock and aquaculture, and this practice "should be phased out immediately", FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said on Wednesday, May 30.


Speaking at a high-level UN coordination meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in France, Da Silva stressed, "FAO advocates that antibiotics and other antimicrobials should be only used to cure diseases and alleviate unnecessary suffering. Only under strict circumstances they should be used to prevent an imminent threat of infection".


He also called for a stop on the use of antimicrobials as biocides on crops, which leads to some crop funguses becoming more resistant to treatment.  


The increased use of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare has contributed to an increase in the number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat them, like antibiotics.


AMR has been identified as a growing threat that could lead to as many as 10 million deaths a year and over $100 trillion in losses to the global economy by 2050.


Da Silva noted that at present only 89 countries have indicated that they have a system in place to collect data on the use of antimicrobials in farm animals. "AMR will not be solved in a few years. It will need continuous attention and guidance", he warned.