New reports have found that cattle raised for food in the US are given five times as much antibiotics as in the UK. Due to this largely unregulated use of antibiotics in farm animals, Europe has currently banned all beef imports from the US.
Now post-Brexit, when politicians are seeking to negotiate trade deals for the UK independently of the European Union, the UK might come under severe pressure to allow such imports. It is being speculated that the US government might strike a hard deal on agricultural products as part of any trade agreement.
It should be noted that high use of antibiotics in farm animals, particularly ones that are used as ‘last resort’ in critical illnesses, is linked to rising drug resistance and the rise of superbugs. Antibiotic resistance can spread rapidly among herds and flocks, but can also be spread through eating affected food products, warns WHO.