“An emphasis on sound animal husbandry and healthy animals kept to high welfare standards will help minimise routine reliance on antimicrobials” (CHAWG report, June 2016)

Through working together, the UK livestock industry has lowered its use of antibiotics by 40% over the last five years. The UK is now one of the lowest users of antibiotics to treat farm animals in Europe. Please click here to read further on this

In any case:

Antibiotics used as animal growth promoters are strictly forbidden on any farms supplying Morrisons own brand products.

As of 31.12.18, we do not have any antibiotics classed as ‘critical’ for human health, including colistin, used on pigs coming into our fresh pork range.

At all times, farmers observe strict withdrawal periods for any animal or bird who may have received an antibiotic treatment; regulated residue levels means food is always safe to eat

Animal and bird welfare is important for our business, our customers, and for the farms we work with. That’s why on occasion and after scientific diagnosis, vets working with our supplying farms may need to prescribe antibiotics to livestock to treat certain health conditions.

To help keep antibiotics effective for the human population, we have an active programme of responsible use in place. Buying directly from over 3,500 farmers and having worked closely with vets for a number of years, we know this is important for all of us.

Our work has included:

  • Having a robust methodology in place to monitor the use of antibiotics in our fresh poultry, dairy and egg supply chains
  • Working with our farmers, vets and universities to help develop monitoring tools for the UK pork, beef and sheep sectors, which have a wide variety of farm-based IT systems
  • Ensuring active herd and flock health plans are being used on farm, developed in association with the farm vet, so reducing the need for antibiotics in the first place.

Going forward we will continue to work with farmers and vets, who are the gatekeepers of antibiotics on farm to maintain the momentum of reducing antibiotic use on farms, including:

  • Asking farmers to only use ‘critical’ antibiotics as a treatment of last resort in our beef, lamb, poultry, egg and dairy chains and not to use colistin at all after 2020. This is already the case in our fresh pork chain.
  • Working with our farmers to be in a position to phase out any remaining routine use of antibiotics in our fresh beef, pork, lamb and dairy supply chain by 2020; poultry and egg chains are already compliant.
  • Asking all farms supplying Morrisons with meat, dairy and eggs to report their antibiotic use for anonymous benchmarking
  • We also intend to do more work going forward to share best practice through our farming groups, farming website and ‘Farming Matters’ magazine.
  • We support the RUMA targets for the industry and as antibiotic use is an issue that affects everyone, we work in partnership across the industry. We are members of the BRC’s working group on AMR and the IGD’s Strategic Steering Group for Antibiotic Use in the food supply chain as well as supporters of RUMA, the NFU, NPA and AHDB.

Morrisons is part of the Food Industry Initiative on Antimicrobials which has the stated vision of ‘Retailers, manufacturers, processors and food service companies coming together to promote and support responsible antimicrobial use and action on antimicrobial resistance. The intention of this initiative is to support and engage with existing industry groups working in this area, ensuring work is aligned, avoiding duplication of effort and it has 3 key working groups on Responsible Use, Data and Research & Development.