ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS: PDF OnlyAntibiotics in the food chain: their impact on the consumerWillis, CarolineAuthor Information Wessex Environmental Microbiology Services, Public Health Laboratory Service, Southampton, UK Address for correspondence: C. Willis Wessex Environmental Microbiology Services, Public Health Laboratory Service, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6TD, UK. Fax: +44 2380 777143. Reviews in Medical Microbiology: July 2000 - Volume 11 - Issue 3 - p 153-160 Buy Abstract The development of resistance to antibiotics by pathogenic bacteria is a problem of increasing concern, resulting in treatment failures and longer periods of morbidity. Resistant bacteria may emerge following exposure of bacterial populations to sublethal concentrations of antibiotics. This can occur as a result of antibiotic use in clinical and veterinary practice and in agriculture. Antibiotics are used widely in agriculture and aquaculture for therapeutic, prophylactic and growth-promoting purposes; residual antibiotics remaining in the flesh at the time of slaughter may result in direct exposure of the consumer to these drugs. In addition, the presence of low levels of antibiotic may select for resistant bacteria in the intestines of animals intended for human consumption. There is now strong evidence that the use of antibiotics during the production of food animals can lead to the exposure of consumers to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Control measures are being introduced in the developed world to limit the use of clinically important antibiotics as growth promoters. However, this is not yet taking place in many developing countries. With increasing globalisation of our food market, an international approach to the control of antibiotic use is essential. © 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins © 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.