M&B has strengthened the language in its policy to prohibit the prophylactic use of antibiotics that are critical to human medicine and is currently in the process of extending the scope of its policy to address antibiotics use in fish and seafood across all its brands. Although the company is reluctant to establish reduction targets, it is the only company in the engagement that has begun to publicly report on antibiotics usage for poultry and pork using an industry standard measure of mg/ Population Correction Unit (PCU).
We are encouraged by M&B’s commitment to antibiotics stewardship. However, we would encourage the company to continue strengthening their programme by:
- Extending the scope of their policy to go beyond critically important antibiotics in order to phase out the routine use of all antibiotics and/ or only use antibiotics when there is a disease present and administered by a veterinarian.
- Setting targets and timelines for implementation.
- Committing to third-party audits across all relevant markets and species to ensure supplier compliance.
- Explaining the reason(s) for antibiotics usage and where non-compliance has been identified the actions taken to address overuse.
As you know we have been working hard on this area and are pleased with the recognition we have received from BBFAW and with the way we have developed the web communication of our approach. Going forward all the info you require will be published on the website.
Our policy currently prohibits the prophylactic use of antibiotics deemed by WHO to be most critically important to human health and states that these should only be used therapeutically and where it is the sole option to prevent a severe welfare crisis, as assessed and administered by a veterinary surgeon. As you will be aware, the EU and UK authorities do not class ionophores as antibiotics, although this is the case in the US. There is an industry consultation underway regarding the use of antimicrobials and antibiotics. M&B will continue to take advice from RUMA and follow their guidelines, as appropriate, regarding the use of all classes of antibiotics and antimicrobials in livestock production.
See the company response to our engagement here.