The European Council has agreed to impose a ban on prophylactic or routine metaphylactic use of antibiotic medicated feed.

Metaphylactic use (treating the whole group of animals when one is infected) will be allowed only when the risk of infection spreading is high and there is no appropriate alternative.

According to a spokesperson for the European Parliament, the informally agreed text of the new EU law was backed by the Agriculture Committee by 40 votes in favour, with one abstention.

The deal with the European Council on more responsible ways to use medicated feed to tackle the spread of antimicrobial resistance was endorsed by agriculture MEPs today (July 10).

The deal still needs to be formally approved by the full house and by the Council of EU Ministers before the regulation can enter into force.

Bolster the fight

To bolster the fight against antimicrobial resistance, MEPs pushed to extend new rules on medicated feed (prepared by feed mills or professionals) to all animal medicines administered orally, whether via feed or drinking water, including so-called 'top dressing' (prepared by farmers).

New veterinary medicines rules, together with those for medicated feed, will: restrict the use of existing antimicrobials; ban routine collective and preventive antibiotic treatment of animals; and stimulate research into new medicines.