The European Food Safety Authority has urged EU pig farmers and veterinarians to scale back their use of antimicrobials due to a risk of bacterial resistance threatening public health and compromising the food sector, according to the British Pig Executive.

A scientific assessment by its panel on biological hazards concluded a Europe-wide crackdown on antimicrobial use should now be a priority if Europe is to limit the spread of increasingly resistant bacterial strains such as E. coli and Salmonella. The scientific opinion goes even further in recommending the antimicrobial cephalosporin should be cut out of all treatments or at least severely restricted, in view of the risks of generating resistance.

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The authors of the report are said to regret the lack of pan-European data on antimicrobial resistance and have suggested that European Union-level surveillance and monitoring should be stepped up, said BPEX.