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‘Meat testing’ press release criticised by RUMA
RUMA said the press release fails to acknowledge the strict regulation of all antibiotic use in farm animals.
Randox Health tested beef for antibiotic residue at Aintree kitchens

RUMA has strongly criticised a press release by the Grand National sponsor Randox Health for making ‘inaccurate and misleading’ statements about the use of antibiotics in farm animals.

Randox issued the press release last week, saying it tested meat for traces of antibiotics before serving it from the Aintree kitchens to around 12,000 people. The Ladymoor Farm Beef was given the ‘all-clear’ by Randox’s Food Diagnostic division after being tested using its Biochip Array Technology.

According to its website, Randox offers ‘tools for the screening of antimicrobials, growth promoting hormones and drugs of abuse in animals and produce’. The company said it wanted to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and is ‘working closely with the industry to promote a responsible approach to antibiotic use in farm animals’.

However, RUMA, which promotes the responsible use of medicines in farm animals, said the press release fails to acknowledge the strict regulation of all antibiotic use in farm animals, and the withdrawal periods observed to avoid the presence of antibiotics in meat, milk and other products. It also confuses residue testing with the separate issue of antibiotic resistance.

RUMA secretary John Fitzgerald referred to the press release as “an ill-conceived PR stunt” and called it “irresponsible and incorrect” to imply consumers would be harmed by antibiotics from any farm produce, when residue levels have long been tightly controlled.

“Regarding the altogether different issue of antibiotic resistance, its relationship to the testing of meat for residues is bewildering,” he added. “Antibiotic resistance is complex enough already; it should be a moral duty to clarify the facts rather than cause further confusion or, worse still, seek to use it for economic gain.”

Randox was also chastised for attributing a rise in human prescriptions of ‘last resort’ drugs to farm animals, when RUMA says farm animal sales of all antibiotics, including high priority drugs, have fallen.

RUMA said it had contacted Randox for urgent clarification. 

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UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

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Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.