Grand National sponsor has got it wrong, says RUMA Alliance

Grand National sponsor Randox Health has been slammed by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) after the company issued a press release about testing meat at Aintree for antibiotic residues.

Randox Health says that it is testing food it is serving to its guests at Aintree for traces of antibiotics. The RUMA Alliance, which promotes responsible use of medicines in farm animals, says Randox Health has failed to acknowledge that all use of antibiotics in farm animals in the UK is strictly regulated, with withdrawal periods observed to avoid presence in meat, milk and other products from food-producing animals.

It says that Randox Health has also confused residue testing with the separate issue of antibiotic resistance and provides incorrect information on antibiotic use in food-producing animals – which is reducing rapidly in the UK.

RUMA Secretary General John FitzGerald says: “In what appears to be an ill-conceived PR stunt by Randox Health’s food diagnostics division, the wrong risk and the wrong facts have been communicated.

RUMA has contacted Randox Health, but as this story was posted, no response had been received.

The press release starts: “With concerns about antibiotic resistance growing amongst shoppers in 2017, the new Grand National sponsor Randox Health is raising awareness of the topic by testing the food it’s serving to guests for traces of antibiotics.

Scientists warn that excessive use of antibiotics in healthy farm animals is contributing to the rise of infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs. Last year there was a 40% increase in prescriptions of drugs of ‘last resort’, only used when traditional antibiotics fail. It’s believed 12,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant bugs every year in the UK.”

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