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IFFO blasts report linking antibiotic resistance to fishmeal

IFFO, the international trade organisation that represents and promotes the marine ingredients industry, has blasted a report that linked antibiotic-resistance genes to fishmeal used in aquaculture.


November 2, 2017
By Liza Mayer
The fact that the fishmeal samples in the study were purchased in China also raised a red flag for IFFO

Researchers at Dalian University of Technology in China pointed to fishmeal as the source of antibiotic-resistance genes found in sediment at the bottom of fish farms that never used antibiotics or have not used them for years. They reached their conclusion after analyzing commercially available fishmeal.

IFFO denounced The Economist’s reporting of the study because of “sweeping generalizations” it made based on a “scientific paper that reports on a very small (only five) sample size.”

The fact that the fishmeal samples were purchased in China also raised a red flag.

“Fishmeal samples are named as being from various countries of origin but were purchased locally in China with no guarantee of their purity or integrity. Given reports of adulteration of imported fishmeal in China, this is clearly a concern,” said IFFO. Director General Andrew Mallison said “the authors’ eagerness to attack the fish farming and fishmeal industry has unfortunately caused a lack of perspective and critical appraisal of the facts.”

Antibiotic resistance is a real concern, said the organization, but the study’s findings need further investigation, it suggested.