§ Ms Jenny Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will assess the public health implications of the use of antibiotic growth promoters in farm animal feed in relation to the efficacy of the treatment of MRSA infections. 
§ Mr. Denham
An in-depth review of microbial antibiotic resistance in relation to food safety was undertaken by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) and published in September 1999. The Government's response to the ACMSF's recommendations was published on 24 March 2000. Copies of the report and our response are available in the Library.
We are committed to a co-ordinated research programme to investigate problems associated with resistance to antimicrobials in the context of public health. This programme is being co-ordinated by an interdepartmental steering group on resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents. The steering group carries out this work as part of the implementation of the Government strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance which was published in June. Infection control, including MRSA, is one of the key parts of this strategy. Copies are available in the Library.
Antimicrobial growth promoters are authorised as feed additives throughout the European Union under procedures set out in Council Directive 70–524 EC as amended. None of these antimicrobial compounds is authorised or is in a class of antibiotics authorised for the treatment of humans or animals, and as such would not directly affect the treatment of MRSA infections.