June 3, 2011


South Korea to ban use of antibiotics in animal feed



South Korea plans to ban the mixing of antibiotics with animal feed from July in an effort to raise consumer trust in the safety of livestock products, the government said on Tuesday (May 31).


South Korea allowed 44 types of antibiotics to be mixed with feed before 2005, but it has gradually cut the number since then as scientists warn of serious side effects when livestock receive too many antibiotics.


"The government will impose a total ban on the addition of antibiotics to animal feed by revising rules governing animal feed production," the farm ministry said. "The new rules will enhance the safety of local meat and dairy products."


Under the revised rules, the use of eight types of antibiotics will be prohibited, along with one kind of antimicrobial agent, the ministry said.


However, veterinarians will be permitted to inject antibiotics into sick animals, the ministry added.


Livestock that receive large doses of antibiotics can develop resistance to certain types of drugs. In turn, human consumers of meat and milk from such animals may not respond to viral infection treatments.


The ministry stressed that once the ban goes into effect, the government will redouble efforts to check for antibiotics in feed and take tough action against violations.


Seoul has been monitoring the residues of antibodies in meat since 1991, halting circulation of products that fail to pass the screening process. This year, state inspectors found 38 individual products that exceeded state safety standards.

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