Modern medicine is unthinkable without antibiotics. Their availability for the treatment of bacterial infectious diseases saves countless lives worldwide every day. Due to the increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), we are currently in danger of losing effective antibiotics - nothing less than global health is at stake. The high and regular use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, which fosters antimicrobial resistance, is therefore no longer acceptable.
A so-called delegated act is currently being discussed at EU level, which is to provide criteria for the designation of antimicrobials that are reserved solely for humans and can then no longer be used in animal husbandry. On 15 September, the EU Parliament will decide on an objection to this delegated act. In essence, the objection provides for the delegated act to be revised again so that antimicrobials that are most important for humans ("critically important antimicrobials with the highest priority", WHO) can also be included in order to preserve their effectiveness.
More than every second chicken meat sample (51 per cent) from the three largest poultry companies in Europe is contaminated with resistance to one or even several antibiotics at the same time. On average, more than every third chicken (35 per cent) even carries antibiotic-resistant pathogens with resistance to critically important antimicrobials highest priority into the food chain. These are the alarming results of a study published October 27.
The study tested 165 chicken meat samples from the three companies, purchased in Germany, France, Poland, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Germanwatch discloses: Chicken meat from the PHW-Group, Germany's largest poultry company, is almost 60 percent contaminated with antibiotic-resistant pathogens. This is the result of a Germanwatch study in which chicken meat samples from the three largest EU producers were tested in the laboratory. Every third sample even showed resistance to reserve antibiotics. These are emergency antibiotics that people need when other antibiotics no longer help. The more resistant pathogens are introduced into the food chain and into our kitchens with chicken meat, the greater the health risk that these last-line antibiotics will lose their effectiveness.
Antibiotics in intensive animal husbandry - after years of efforts by the German government, this should no longer be a cause for concern. But unfortunately it is, as a study by Germanwatch shows: More than every second chicken in discounters is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Every third chicken meat sample was contaminated with germs that have resistance to antibiotics with highest priority for humans.