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Consumer Council supports international campaign calling a stop in misuses of antibiotics across meat and poultry supply chains

  • 2015.11.18

The Consumer Council joins hands with consumer organisations around the world in a new campaign calling on major global restaurant chains to stop sourcing and serving meat and poultry from animals routinely given antibiotics used in human medicine.

The campaign is launched during the World Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Week, an event organised by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Council is of the view that apart from satiating the appetite of consumers, the food industry should become more responsive to their health concerns.  Routinely misuse and overuse of antibiotics in meat production should be avoided to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that may pose serious hazard to public health.  

As the major buyer of meat and poultry, restaurants operating domestically and internationally have critical roles to play in bringing a healthy and sustainable food industry.  

Contributing to this global campaign, the Council will write and inquire international chain restaurants in Hong Kong about their policies on the use of antibiotics.   The letter will also call on the companies to define a time-bound action plan to phase out sourcing meat and poultry from animals routinely given antibiotics. 

Growing antibiotic resistance is driven by overuse of antibiotics.  Around half of the antibiotics produced globally are used in agriculture, with much of this being used to promote faster growth and to prevent, rather than treat, disease. Despite worldwide concern about the overuse of antibiotics, their use in agriculture is due to increase by two thirds by 2030: from 63,200 tons in 2010, to 105,600 tons in 2030.

The WHO has warned that, without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill. 

The international campaign is led by the Consumers International, an international federation of consumer organisations, which is holding its World Congress in Brasilia this week. 

Amanda Long, Director General of the Consumers International said: “If antibiotic resistance continues to grow unchecked the results will be catastrophic. Global restaurant chains are in a position to use their huge buying power to have real impact on the use of antibiotics in food production, to set the agenda for other businesses and to promote public awareness of this looming crisis.”