Antibiotic use on Danish poultry farms doubles in two years

October 12th, 2015

This article is more than 8 years old.

Could be problematic for humans if resistant gene jumps to more harmful bacteria

While the use of antibiotics in pig farming has fallen in recent years, it has rocketed in Danish poultry farming, the engineering publication Ingeniøren reports.

According to figures from the food institute DTU Fødevareinstituttet and a report by the antimicrobial surveillance program Danmap in conjunction with the infectious disease centre Statens Serum Institut, the amount of antibiotics used on chickens more than doubled between 2012 and 2014.

What’s more, almost half of the bacteria samples collected from slaughtered chickens are resistant to the widely used antibiotic tetracyklin, representing a 100 percent increase in resistance since 2011.

Could pose a threat
Lars Bogø Jensen, a lecturer at DTU Fødevareinstituttet, explained that while the sample bacteria is unproblematic, resistance could pose a threat to the consumer.

“The bacteria will be able to be transferred to humans; the problem arises if the resistant gene from it jumps to more pathogenic bacteria that can’t thereafter be killed with tetracyklin,” he said.

The reason for the jump in antibiotic use is the high illness rate among chickens. According to Jan Dahl, a head consultant at the agricultural organisation Landbrug og Fødevarer, more than 100 flocks have been hit and a working group has been set up to get to the root of the problem.


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