The Beacon

Chile's Antibiotic Abuse

After Oceana requested information about the use of antibiotics in Chile’s salmon industry, Chile’s Ministry of Economy revealed for the first time ever that Chile used about 718,000 pounds of antibiotics in 2008 and 850,000 pounds in 2007. In an article titled "Chile’s Antibiotic Use on Salmon Farms Dwarfs That of a Top Rival’s" in Sunday’s The New York Times, Alex Muñoz, Oceana’s vice president for South America, was quoted criticizing Chile’s overuse of antibiotics in its salmon farms.

The world’s second biggest salmon exporter, Chile uses the antibiotics to control the spread of viruses and other fish-borne illnesses that kill millions of salmon. In addition, the report revealed that about one-third of Chile’s antibiotics are not approved for use in the US by the US Food and Drug Administration.

In 2008, Oceana submitted a plan to reduce and regulate antibiotics in salmon aquaculture to the Chilean government. Muñoz, says that "the ministry’s numbers confirm that the Chilean salmon industry has abused the use of antibiotics. They also show that the Chilean government has placed a higher priority on ensuring the profitability of a business sector than protecting consumers and the nation’s ecosystems."


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