BEUC wins EU award for best campaign on antimicrobial resistance

BEUC NEWS - 08.02.2017

Last Monday night BEUC was rewarded by the European Commission for its work on antimicrobial resistance. We received the EU Health Award’s first prize for best NGO campaign for raising awareness about this serious public health issue. Health and Food Safety EU Commissioner Andriukaitis handed the prize to our Director Monique Goyens during a ceremony held in Leuven, Belgium.

 

Back in November 2014, we launched the campaign to raise awareness about how the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in livestock is having an impact on human health. The starting point was a set of alarming results from tests carried out by BEUC members on meat samples in 9 countries.1 They found that between 72% and 98% of the meat they tested was contaminated with resistant bacteria.

As we had two target groups we developed two different too ls. To raise awareness among consumers, we produced a multi-language infographic explaining the different ways resistant bacteria spread from the farm to humans. To urge decision makers to act, we designed a list of recommendations in the shape of a drug prescription. While the EU Parliament heeded our call to curb antibiotic use in livestock, when it voted last year on draft plans to update EU law1 on veterinary medicines, Member States are dragging their feet in finding a compromise on the proposal.

Thanks to this €20,000 prize, we will continue to raise awareness on this issue together with our members.

Background
Antimicrobial resistance kills 25,000 Europeans every year in Europe.1
The more antibiotics used, the higher the risk bacteria become resistant. While it’s known that people should go easy on antibiotics, the idea also applies to animals. Misuse and overuse of antibiotics in farm animals spurs antimicrobial resistance which can spread to humans in several ways, including food. This means infections – even routine ones – can be more difficult to cure. Consequently, operations such as surgery or chemotherapy which rely on antibiotic efficacy have already become more hazardous.

More info
Our campaign webpage
Our factsheet and position paper on antibiotic resistance in farming

1.    BEUC members who ran the tests were Altroconsumo (IT), DECO (PT), OCU (ES), Test-Achats (BE), Consumentenbond (NL), FRC (CH), Stiftung Warentest (DE), UFC-Que Choisir (FR) and the Swedish Consumer Council (SW).
2.    European Commission proposal for a Regulation on veterinary medicinal products
3.    The bacterial challenge: time to react’, p.vi, ECDC/EMEA Joint technical report, 2009.