99% of Norwegian salmon have never been treated with antibiotic

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The Norwegian Seafood Council reported that the Norwegian aquaculture industry uses less antibiotics than any other animal farming, and in 2020, 99% of Norwegian salmon have never been treated with any form of antibiotic. The latest annual report on the use of antibiotics in Norwegian animal husbandry and food production showcases the local aquaculture industry’s success in minimizing the use of antibiotics in salmon farming.

No residues of antibiotics, medicines or illegal substances have ever been found in Norwegian salmon, according to annual studies by the Institute of Marine Research in Norway.

Last year, said the annual repor, saw the lowest ever number of veterinary antibiotic treatment prescriptions for Norwegian aquaculture farms, 48 in total. It means that 99% of Norwegian farmed salmon were produced without any antibiotic treatments, “and thanks to our rigorous controls, consumers can have total confidence Norwegian salmon is completely antibiotics free”, reported.

A health issue: antibiotic resistance

The World Health Organisation’s Antimicrobial Awareness Week (PAHO/WHO) was celebrated from 18-24th November and highlights the global threat to health and development caused by the overuse of antimicrobials such as antibiotics.

“The WHO has listed antimicrobial resistance as one of the top 10 public health threats facing humanity, and the food production industry has a weighty responsibility to address this issue, and fast”, said Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

“The Norwegian salmon farming industry has been a pioneer in this field, and since the mid-nineties we have all but eradicated the need for antibiotics through the effective use of vaccines and focus on fish welfare,” Larsen adds.

The World Health Organization has recognised and acknowledged Norway’s efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics in fish farming. While production continues to rise, the use of antibiotics continues to drop.

“This is the direct result of the industry’s focus on fish welfare and food safety, and we are proud that Norwegian aquaculture is the best in the world when it comes to antibiotics use in animal food production,” said Larsen in a in a press release from Norwegian Seafood Council.

A total of 1.4m tonnes of salmon were farmed in fjords along the Norwegian coast in 2020, making Norwegian salmon the biggest salmon producer in the world, with more than 50 percent of the market.

Myths around farmed salmon

Many myths around farmed salmon and antibiotics still exist, points out Larsen, despite the evidence from the Norwegian industry that the use of antibiotics in its farmed salmon is negligible, and has been for nearly two decades

“The use of antibiotics in our farmed salmon has been almost zero for many years now, although it is still a concern for some,” she concludes. “Consumers can have total confidence that Norwegian salmon are antibiotic free, and continue to be a safe, delicious and healthy choice to eat.”

The 2020 NORM-VET report is the twenty-first annual report of its kind, presenting data on resistance and usage of antibiotics in Norwegian animal husbandry and food production. Link to report.

Most sustainable protein production four years in a row

In the other hand, and for the fourth year running, the Coller FAIRR index of the world’s most sustainable protein producers has ranked Norwegian aquaculture companies as best in class. Of the seven companies ranked as “low risk” for various parameters linked to sustainability, three are Norwegian aquaculture companies.

On the list of the 60 largest, publicly listed protein producers globally, Mowi, the world’s largest salmon farmer, continued to hold on to the top spot, with Grieg Seafood bagging second place and Lerøy Seafood on their heels in fourth place.

“Norwegian aquaculture continues to lead the way for protein producers across the world, and it is a great source of pride for the industry to see that their hard work is being recognized,” said the CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council. She believes it is no coincidence Norwegian salmon farming continues to outperform other protein production in the global ranking.

“Being responsible, transparent and innovative is part of the Norwegian seafood industry’s core values. As the largest producer of the world’s favourite seafood -the salmon- we have important responsibilities we take very seriously.”

“A responsibility not only towards consumers who enjoy our delicious and healthy premium quality fish, but also to the communities and the environment in which the companies operate,” Larsen adds.

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