Waitrose works on antimicrobial resistance issue

Waitrose has embarked on a scheme to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance in livestock, while also working on various environmental projects, according to agriculture manager Duncan Sinclair.

Speaking at this year’s Eblex Annual Conference, Sinclair outlined the retailer’s efforts on the subject, working alongside Defra’s UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy 2013-2018. He said: “We’ve run events getting closer to the veterinary sector, we are focused on how the vet can work more closely with the supply chains.

“We do need to take this one seriously. As a retailer we are increasingly being asked how much active ingredient is being used in our livestock.”

Sinclair also presented some of Waitrose’s ongoing livestock projects related to the environment and sustainability: “This is very important to our customers, we have been working on optimal efficacy to impact our environmental impact indirectly.”

He explained the retailer’s work with the Link Sureroot grass project, in which scientists at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) are looking at grasses, like the hybrid known as Festulolium, which can absorb and retain water better.

The use of such grasses would be especially beneficial to farms that have suffered from the recent devastating flooding, while they are nutrient-use efficient and can reduce soil erosion. Sinclair said he was delighted to have eight farms involved in the project.

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