Doctors in the UK are being praised today for helping to reduce antibiotic resistance by cutting back on the amount of medication they prescribe. But maybe the UK should be looking at the fruit it imports too?
NHS Improvement says prescriptions for all types of antibiotic were down by more than 2.6 million on the previous year to about 34 million in 2015-16. They say it is a “fantastic result” and shows doctors are being careful not to over-prescribe them. It is part of a wider drive to stop harmful infections developing resistance to antibiotics.
In the UK, the largest chunk of antibiotic prescribing – 80% – occurs outside of hospital. And half of these prescriptions are to treat chest infections. Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections…” source BBC
Why? because in New Zealand, a country that has a high prevalence of third world diseases such as strep throat and rheumatic fever, they’re spraying antibiotics on Kiwifruit vines.
Yes, it’s incredible that a country that identifies with the word ‘Kiwi’ as strongly as it does with the phrase ‘100% pure’ is using streptomycin to treat Psa disease in Kiwifruit vines.
What’s more concerning is that Psa is developing a resistance to the antibiotic. Rather like the streptococci bacteria that give humans preventable diseases like rheumatic fever.
A kiwifruit vine disease New Zealand is recovering from is starting to show signs of resistance to one of the main treatments. Results from the Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) regular testing program have shown Psa-V resistance to streptomycin in two Te Puke orchards.
The detections were made in the most recent tests of an ongoing copper and streptomycin resistance monitoring program, which has been in place since 2011 and aims to ensure resistance is detected early.
KVH said in a release these finds were ‘not completely unexpected’. It added the streptomycin-resistant Psa-V was still susceptible to copper, meaning growers could still ‘effectively control’ Psa-V.
“Resistance to streptomycin can occur naturally, even on orchards where streptomycin has not been used,” the group said…
But wait, there’s more – other horticultural industries are using it – it’s not just being used on Kiwifruit it’s used on apples, tomatoes and stonefruit too…
Streptomycin use and resistance has previously been identified in other horticultural industries in the island country, and successful management strategies have reportedly been developed to deal with this….
Streptomycin is an antibacterial product and has been registered for use against Psa-V in New Zealand since 2011.
Antibacterial products are registered for use in Canada, United States, New Zealand and a number of Asian countries against a range of bacterial diseases in horticulture, including fire blight in apples and pears.
It is registered in New Zealand for use on apples, tomatoes, stonefruit and kiwifruit…source
Notably, it’s not used in neighboring Australia which grows the same sort of crops. It would be interesting to know how many of these New Zealand fruits are being marketed as “organic”.
New Zealand, 100% pure? nowhere near.