Subject Alternatives due to the regulation on antibiotics
Date 2021-04-07

Alternatives due to the regulation on antibiotics


The reason of antibiotics usage and antibiotic effects

As everyone knows, the first mass-produced antibiotic was penicillin, and as several antibiotics were developed later, it began to be used in the livestock industry as an antibacterial agent and growth promoter. Currently, antibiotics are mainly used for increasing productivity rather than curing diseases. These are some of the positive of antibiotics.

Positive effect of antibiotics

- Animals receiving antibiotics in their feed gain 4% to 5% more body

 weight than animals that do not receive antibiotics.

- Antibiotics are used for treatment of animal disease and/or disease


- Livestock treated with antibiotics live longer than those who are not


- The shelf life is extended for meat, eggs, and dairy products

 when treated with antibiotics.


The reason for regulating antibiotics

If antibiotics are used as growth promoters, they have a positive economic effect. But there are major side effects, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria develop in animals taking antibiotics. These resistant bacteria can spread to other animals and eventually infect humans. There are mainly two cases where antibiotics in feed are a problem. The first is that antibiotics remain in livestock products, and when humans consume livestock products, pathogens in humans are exposed to residual antibiotics and become resistant. Another case is that antibiotic-resistant bacteria remain in livestock products and are transmitted to humans. In this way, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans can spread from person to person to produce bacteria that are resistant to several drugs, and the treatment in hospital may not be effective later.


figure1 How antibiotic-resistant bacteria affect people



Antibiotics regulation countries

The use of antibiotics in livestock is regulated in almost all countries. In most countries, it can be used under the prescription of a veterinarian and its use as an AGP is prohibited.


South Korea

South Korea has completely banned the use of AGP since 2011.



China is encouraging the reduction of antibiotic use as a growth stimulator, regulating the market for registration and management of veterinary antibiotics, and strengthening antibiotic residue testing.



The US has restricted the use of AGP for some medically important antibiotics since 2013, but does not prohibit the addition of all antibiotics to feed. (2018)



Use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feeds has been permitted in the member states of the European Union during the decades. However, concerns about development of antimicrobial resistance and about transference of antibiotic resistance genes from animal to human microbiota, led to withdraw approval for antibiotics as growth promoters in the European Union since January 1, 2006.



Figure2 Summary of regulatory actions globally (2015)

+ with exceptions

Source : Globalization and Health, Cornerstone Capital Group


Antibiotic alternatives

- Bacteriophage

A bacteriophage, also known as a phage, is a virus that can infect and kill within bacteria. Two major characteristics of bacteriophage are specificity and safety. Phage only infect their targeted bacterial host and can kill bacteria without any negative effect on human or animal cell.

- Probiotics

A probiotic is defined as a live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance. It can control of specific enteric pathogens and speed up maturation of immune system.

- β-glucan

β-glucan is A polysaccharide of D-glucose monomers, linked by glycosidic bonds. It can increase immune cell activation and improved resistance to bacterial infections, growth rate and feed conversion efficiency.