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Antibiotics in food

(May 2017)

Antibiotics are used by primary producers to keep their animals healthy and as a result low residues of antibiotics may be present in some of the foods we eat. Standard 1.4.2 and Schedule 20 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code lists the maximum limits for antibiotic residues in food. Food can’t be sold if it contains residues above these limits. Regular tests show antibiotic residues rarely exceed these limits.

With concerns about the increasing threat of antibiotic resistance in humans, the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, along with other agencies including FSANZ, have undertaken work to ensure a coordinated strategy is in place to limit the development of antimicrobial resistance.

This work has resulted in the National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy which guides action by governments, and the human and animal health, agriculture and food sectors to tackle antimicrobial resistance.


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