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NPA response to 'Raised Without Antibiotic' pork launch

4th Dec 2017 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has described claims made to accompany the launch of a new ‘Raised Without Antibiotic’ pork range as ‘confused and deeply misleading’.

BF RWAThe range, identified by the blue Antibiotic Free swing tag, was launched by Wilfred Emmanuel Jones, aka The Black Farmer, on various fresh British pork cuts from RSPCA Assured pork.

Marking the launch, Mr Emmanuel Jones claimed that ‘unbeknown to the consumer, pork rearing involves the blanket use of antibiotics’. He suggested pigs reared under the level would be given antibiotics if they need them, however. 

He added that ‘overuse and unnecessary use of antibiotics is leading to disease resistant strains’ and said he believed there were a ‘growing number of consumers who prefer not to be consuming meat that has been inoculated’.

NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford said: “While we welcome any initiative to reduce antibiotic use on farms, some of the comments here risk misleading consumers.

“Pork rearing does not involve blanket use of antibiotics. The industry has made huge strides over the past two years to use antibiotics more responsibly – overall usage was down 35% last year, with use of critically important antibiotics falling by 73%. Usage will continue to fall as the industry strives to meet ambitious reduction targets up to 2020.

“The danger with Antibiotic Free labels is that they perpetuate the myth that giving antibiotics to animals is bad. Antibiotics used responsibly and proportionally are an essential part of maintaining animal health and welfare.

“The labels also risk misleading consumers into believing the meat they are eating might contain antibiotic residues that pose risks to their health. That is not the case.

Georgina also pointed out that Mr Emmanuel Jones’ comments appeared to confuse antibiotic use with vaccination, which is not related to antibiotic use and is a very important health tool for the livestock industry.

To see the NPA's briefing on antibiotic free labelling, click here