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France bans imports of meat produced with antibiotic growth promoters

The practice contributes to antibiotic resistance, which could lead to dangerous infections. It is already banned in the EU but not in the UK or many other countries

Caption: antibiotic growth promoters are commonly used on poultry, cattle, pigs and lambs Pic: Shahjehan / Shutterstock

France is set to ban the import of meat from animals raised with antibiotic growth promoters from today April 22. 

The practice of giving animals such antibiotics was already banned within the EU since 2006, but now France will stamp out imports of this type of meat from outside the bloc too. 

The antibiotics are not used to treat the animals when they fall ill, but are instead used to protect them from bacteria, allowing them to expend less energy fighting infections and therefore to grow faster. 

It is common to use them on poultry, cattle, pigs and lambs around the world.

Jean-Yves Madec, scientific director of antibiotic resistance at the French Food Safety Agency, Anses, told Franceinfo that this practice is used in 75% of the world. 

The UK, for example, allows this. 

The growth promoters are harmful because they can increase antibiotic resistance in animals. The more they are used, the more resistant bacteria will become, therefore increasing the risk that in the long run we end up with ineffective treatments for certain infections. 

In veterinary medicine, the latest generation of antibiotic treatment is already 20 years old, meaning bacteria has had two decades to adapt to it. 

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