APUA convened a Roundtable of Experts, co-chaired by Herman Goossens, MD, PhD and Christina Greko, PhD, on May 29, 2010 in Paris. Experts in molecular biology, veterinary and clinical medicine reviewed scientific evidence and their experiences with the withdrawal of antimicrobials for non-therapeutic use in food animal production in the European Union (EU) and specific EU countries.
Among the topics addressed were: “Resistance gene transfer induced by low concentrations of antibiotics” (Patrice Courvalin), “Antibiotics in agriculture and farming as ecotoxic agents favoring antibiotic resistance in different environments” (Fernando Baquero, MD, PhD), “Scientific arguments for and against the ban” (Wolfgang Witte, PhD, Jacques Acar, MD) and “The human health consequences of antimicrobial use in animals.” (Frank Aaerstrup, DVM, PhD Denmark), (Christina Greko, PhD Sweden, Dik Mevius, DVM, PhD, The Netherlands and Christopher Teale, DVM, United Kingdom) reported on country experiences and their perspectives regarding the withdrawal of antibiotics for non-therapeutic use in food animal production.
EU policy on the issue of judicious use of antimicrobials in food animal production is in contrast to that of United States, where antimicrobials continue to be used for growth promotion and other non-therapeutic purposes. One of the experts stated that the world is on the verge of a global epidemic of multi-resistant salmonellas and E. coli resistant to ESBLs, and the United States is still “burying its head in the sand” with respect to antibiotic usage. The time for action is now. Publication of a report highlighting select proceedings, lessons learned and recommendations is forthcoming. The entire program is accessible on the APUA website. The APUA Roundtable was made possible with the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts.