UK antibiotic reductions begin to plateau

28 Nov 2020

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By Josh Loeb

There has been a ‘levelling off’ in reductions in UK sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals.

According to the latest UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) report, the total volumes of antibiotics sold in 2019 increased slightly on 2018 figures (see box 1).

Box 1:

Antibiotic Sales in 2019

Total antibiotic usage in the UK farm sector is not calculated precisely. Instead, sales data is used as a proxy measure. Latest sales figures show the total volume of antibiotics sold in 2019 was 31 mg/kg compared with 29.5 mg/kg in 2018.

Figures are adjusted for animal population so they describe the average amount of active ingredient used in farm species, represented as mgs of antibiotic per livestock biomass or kg of animal.

This is so the data take account of the number of animals in the national herd in...