in Extra Matter

Evidence on agriculture and antibiotics

Ampicillin was introduced to the British market in 1961. By 1962, there were outbreaks of disease caused by strains of Salmonella typhimurium resistant to the antibiotic. A new study shows that the use of penicillin on farms from the 1950s gave the bacteria a head start. A team at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, looked at samples of S. typhimurium collected from people, livestock, food and feed between 1911 and 1969. From the announcement:

“Our findings suggest that antibiotic residues in farming environments such as soil, waste water, and manure may have a much greater impact on the spread of resistance than previously thought”, says Dr Francois-Xavier Weill, who led the study.

When are we going to see real action on this?

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