News - June 30, 2017

Fewer resistant bacteria on chicken meat

Albert Sikkema

The number of antibiotic-resistant ESBL-producing bacteria on chicken meat is decreasing. This is a consequence of the diminished use of antibiotics in the poultry sector. This was revealed by the MARAN report on the use of antibiotics in 2016.

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Researchers of Wageningen Bioveterinary Research see a further decrease of ESBL-producing bacteria on chicken meat. While all chicken meat was contaminated with these bacteria in 2010, that had gone down to 67 percent by 2014 and 39 percent in 2015. Last year, only 24 percent of the chicken meat was contaminated.

Use of antibiotics
This trend seems to be linked to the diminished use of antibiotics in the poultry sector. Relative to 2015, the use of antibiotics in the broilers sector decreased by 30 percent in 2016. In the turkey sector, the use decreased by 26 percent. With this, the use of antibiotics in animals that are vital to public health has decreased to a minimum.

The use of antibiotics in all livestock farming sectors has decreased by 64 percent since 2009. According to Kees Veldman of Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, there is a clear link between the diminished use of antibiotics and the decrease in resistance in animals. In the past year, the researchers observed a further decrease of resistance in broilers and porkers and a stabilisation in bobby calves. The resistance in dairy cows has been at a constant low for years.

The MARAN-reports (Monitoring of Antimicrobial Resistance and Antibiotic usage in animals in the Netherlands) are prepared annually since 2002. The data in the report originate from WUR, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) and the Netherlands Veterinary Medicines Institute (SDa).