Hong Kong launches antibiotic regulation action plan for poultry

hen 111208 640The Hong Kong government has launched a five-year action plan to regulate the use of antibiotics on poultry in order to control the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

The Hong Kong Strategy and Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2017-2022), which is endorsed by the High Level Steering Committee on AMR, adopts the "One Health" approach recommended by international health agencies.

According to the World Health Organisation, this approach enables multiple sectors to work together and achieve better public health outcomes, particularly with regard to food safety, the control of infectious animal diseases and combatting antibiotic resistance, according to World Health Organisation.

Improper use of antibiotics by farms is considered one of the main reasons worsening AMR, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports. Currently, farms can purchase and possess 20 kinds of antibiotics after they are licensed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. But on-site inspections in April found that some local farms used rarely seen medicines imported from the mainland, the department said. Samples have been sent to laboratories and the results are pending.

For the long term, the action plan states that the government will stop issuing antibiotics permits to farmers and the use of antimicrobials in food animals will be subject to veterinary prescription at an appropriate juncture.

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