This second is a blog series on the global war: Rise of Superbugs! Part 1 took a critical look at the antibiotic threat we face in today’s battlefield. The waning effectiveness of antibiotics as we head into what may seem like a post-antibiotic era has impelled new reformation to at the very least control antibiotic usage to ensure food safety.
Though a long road ahead, this July, the Vietnamese government will introduce a new law. Farmers who use illegal substances in animal feed antibiotics stand to face up to 20 years of incarceration or fines up to VND3 billion (USD142,800). While in India, stricter antibiotic restrictions are beginning to be introduced, including a draft order issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) which proposes to stop the use of antibiotics in meat and poultry products.
Recognizing the urgency of the issue, 12 countries in Asia Pacific vow to collaborate to tackle antimicrobial resistance. It’s certainly a big step forward for the region. Stricter regulations for antibiotics in agriculture are becoming a major drive for both EU and the US. The European Parliament is continuing its efforts to curb the rampant use of antibiotics in farming. Earlier this year, MEPs voted on draft plans to update an EU law on veterinary medicines, advocating the ban preventive antibiotic treatment of animals.
In the United States (US), the president’s “National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria” prioritizes the effort to reduce the “misuse and overuse,” of antibiotics in healthcare and food production. California became the first state to set the strictest standards for the use of antibiotics in livestock production last year. The bill that goes into effect in 2018 will limit the use of antibiotics for disease prevention and completely ban drugs to promote quicker growth in animals.
Taking Charge The US livestock industry has gained traction amongst the food chain and livestock producers across the nation. As with Subway, other popular food chains including the Chipotle, Panera Bread and McDonald’s have put forth efforts to gradually phase out meat injected with antibiotics. Even the largest producer Tyson Foods pledges to produce antibiotic-free chickens by 2017.
Big win for anti-antibiotic movement, perhaps? Not really. Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return FAIRR) and responsible investment charity ShareAction feel not enough is being done. Rallying 54 investors who manage £1 trillion (USD 1.41 trillion) in assets, the group is demanding that ten large US and UK restaurant chains produce a comprehensive strategy that confronts the irresponsible use of antibiotics. McDonalds and JD Wetherspoon were among the ten from institutions including Aviva Investors asking them to set a timeline to stop the use of medically important antibiotics in their supply chains as part of managing risks. Although antibiotic resistance costs the US $20billion a year in excess direct healthcare costs and an additional $35bn in costs, drug-resistant “superbugs” could cost the world $100 trillion (£64 trillion) with 10 million global deaths by 2050 according to the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.
The SCIEX Solution As with any war, time is of the essence, and powerful detection tools are crucial to fighting the health battles associated with the use of antibiotics in foods. Labs require rapid and selective screening methods, which not only detect varieties of antibiotic residues, but also a broad range of levels in food and animals.
Learn more about how SCIEX X500R QTOF System can elevate your antibiotic testing with our extensive HR-MS/MS library. Read Antibiotic Analysis in Food Method for more details on how you can detect, quantify, and confirm vet antibiotic drugs in tissue extracts using HPLC coupled with the X500R QTOF system, powered by SCIEX OS Software.