The British Poultry Council welcomes the results of the retailer survey on AMR in chicken which demonstrates the significant progress made by the British poultry meat sector in delivering responsible use of antibiotics and safeguarding their efficacy.

According to the recent survey, campylobacter resistance to the Fluoroquinolone Ciprofloxacin has decreased in the last four years, with a 15.33 % reduction of resistant Campylobacter jejuni, and 1.45% reduction of resistant Campylobacter coli.

The results also show a notable reduction in the presence of campylobacter in chicken, with only 0.8% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of campylobacter (>1000 cfu/g), as compared to 3.8% in March 2018.

British Poultry Council’s Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said:

“We’re delighted to see British poultry meat sector’s drive for excellence in bird health and welfare deliver responsible use of antibiotics and safeguarding their efficacy. Poultry is half of the meat eaten in the UK and we use less than 9.7% of the total antibiotics licensed for food producing animals. We have successfully reduced our antibiotic use by 82% in the last six years and have stopped all preventative treatments as well as the use of colistin. The highest priority antibiotics that are critically important for humans are used only as a ‘last resort’.

We welcome the findings of the retailer survey on AMR in chicken and development of the science and understanding in what is a very complex subject. We’re committed to growing our knowledge of resistance in the food chain and we look forward to working with the FSA to build on this study.

Through our Antibiotic Stewardship, we’re trying to better understand the link between antibiotic use and resistance in production chain. We’ll carry on upholding UK’s position at the forefront of international efforts to keep antibiotics effective for future generations and tackling antimicrobial resistance.”

Notes to the Editor:

• The British poultry meat sector has:
– Stopped prophylactic use of antibiotics
– Stopped use of Colistin
– Only uses Fluoroquinolones and Macrolides as a last resort
– Banned the use of third and fourth generation Cephalosporins
– Restricted the use of antibiotics classified as highest priority critically important by the WHO

• In 2017, the sector used 14.38 tonnes of antibiotics and achieved an 82% reduction in the net use of antibiotics as compared to 2012. In the last year, the sector has achieved a 39.36% reduction in net use of antibiotics (23.72 tonnes used in 2016). In 2016, the sector used 9.72% of the total antibiotics licensed for use in food producing animals as compared to 21% in 2012.

• The sector follows the Government approved sector specific targets developed by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) Targets Task Force (TTF). The UK poultry meat sector’s antibiotic use is under the TTF target set for chickens (25mg/pcu) and turkeys (50mg/pcu).

• BPC Antibiotic Stewardship follows the WHO guidelines on the use of Critically Important Antibiotics (CIAs). The sector uses the highest priority critically important antibiotics only as a ‘last resort’. The use of Macrolides and Fluoroquinolones is permitted only after consultation with the supervising veterinarian and after alternative options have been explored.

Here’s a copy of BPC’s 2018 Antibiotic Stewardship Report.