Cabinet agrees law to reduce drugs in meat
The German cabinet gave its support to a new law limiting the use of antibiotics in farm animals, giving states more power to exert tighter control.
The proposed change to the pharmaceuticals law would enable states to carry out control measures, demand better documentation of antibiotics use in farm animals, and create a new nationwide databank to improve transparency, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.
The changes would also make it harder to use certain drugs in animals.
"We have to do everything we can to curb the overuse of antibiotics in animals," said Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner.
The push to reduce the amount of antibiotics used in commercial farms comes against the backdrop of a growing number of incidents of drug-resistant bacteria thought to be caused by the overuse of antibiotics.
In January, a spot test carried out by Friends of the Earth Germany revealed that three in five fresh chickens sold in German supermarkets were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Aigner stressed that Germany already had tight regulations governing the use of antibiotics in farm animals.
"I want to make explicitly clear that the use of antibiotics to promote growth is forbidden, just as the prophylactic use - that's been the case for years....Violations are not tolerated and must be dealt with by the responsible regional officials, " she said.
The amended rules would take effect in spring of 2013, if the changes to the law pass the upper and lower houses of parliament.