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China launches national plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance

China’s government has launched a national plan to reduce antimicrobial use in poultry and livestock production in an effort to limit drug resistance.

The country’s Ministry of Agriculture said it would increase inspections to reduce irregularities in antibiotics use, and work to drive down the amounts used by 2020, reports China Daily.

Antibiotics for both human and animal use, and those that can easily cause cross-drug resistance, will also be gradually banned, the plan said.

Under the proposals, authorities will encourage research, development and promotion of more than 100 kinds of alternative drugs that are safe and effective for use on livestock.

More than 100 different types of high-risk drugs for animal use will be banned.

Within three years, the government hopes that over 97% of poultry, livestock and aquatic products in China’s domestic market will pass tests for antibiotics residue.

To reach that target, authorities will intensify supervision, inspection and approval of antibiotics for animal use, and introduce additional regulations over the way they can be used by veterinarians.

Officials will also set up eight national labs across the country to improve monitoring of drug resistance caused by the use of animal antibiotics.

As part of the plan, agricultural authorities will strengthen its links with international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to find ways to control the spread of drug-resistant bacteria between countries.

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