Myth: Denmark has Eliminated Antibiotic Resistance by Banning Use of Antibiotics for Growth Promotion


If you look at the data, the ban has reduced overall antibiotic usage in Denmark by 26 percent between 1998 and 2009, but the animal health outcomes have generally not been positive. In animals death and illness rates have increased. As such, the amount of antibiotics used to treat animal disease increased 223 percent.

From a public health perspective, antibiotic resistance in animals in Denmark has decreased since the ban. This, however hasn’t translated to a reduction in antibiotic resistant infections in humans. Research has shown that E. coli and Salmonella resistance to several antibiotics has increased in humans. That suggests that the ban has not had a significant public health impact.[1]

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In the U.S., USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) sampling data indicate that the amount of bacteria on raw meat and poultry products are decreasing across the board –not increasing as has sometimes been reported.[2] The objective of every meat and poultry processor is to eliminate pathogenic bacteria on products before they reach the consumer. The National Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring Program System (NARMS) also shows that the bacteria found on some raw meat and poultry are declining in the wake of changes in meat and poultry production practices. A recently published scientific report found that among specific pathogens, resistance to several of the critical antibiotic classes has not expanded. Furthermore, any bacteria, whether antibiotic resistant or not, is killed through proper cooking, so a significant food safety benefit from the elimination of antibiotic use is not expected.

See Also:
Myth: Antibiotic Use In Livestock Production Is Increasing And This Is A Human Health Risk
Myth: 80% of Antibiotics are Used in Animals
Myth: Antibiotics are Primarily Used for Growth Promotion
Myth: Animal Agriculture is the Biggest Contributor to Antibiotic Resistance
Myth: Antibiotics are Used in Animal Agriculture to Cover Up for Unsanitary Conditions