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Some Chilean salmon farms have annually used 950 g of antibiotics per produced salmon ton. (Image: Oceana)

Oceana reveals Chilean salmon companies using the most antibiotics

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017, 02:10 (GMT + 9)

Marine conservation organization Oceana has realeased the ranking of companies that used the most antibiotics per ton produced in the period 2012-2014.

The NGO points out that the study was created with the information it obtained after years of litigation in which the salmon farmers systematically refused to reveal the amount of antibiotics used in their production, arguing it was "a business secret". Finally, the Supreme Court forced the industry to deliver the data.

The list includes a total of 27 companies, headed by Australis Mar and Trusal SA, companies that according to Oceana used more than 900 grams of antibiotics per produced ton annually.

In the third place is Salmones Aysén, followed by Salmones Multiexport SA, which only revealed the total use of antibiotics in 2014; and in the fifth place ranks Salmones Camanchaca, which used more than 600 grams per tonne produced between 2012 and 2014.

"The figures we are disclosing reveal the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in the salmon industry, information that we have been requesting for years through legal proceedings and now for the first time is transparent," said Liesbeth van der Meer, executive director of Oceana Chile.

"In simple words, in the world bovine industry, on average, 45 grams of antibiotics are used per year per ton produced, while there are salmon companies that in Chile have reached 950 grams per ton of salmon produced," she added.

Oceana assures that there are still salmon companies that maintain a position of secrecy and cites as an example Multiexport, which continues to deny the data on their production.

According to the NGO, other companies that imitate this behavior are Aqua Chile, Australis Mar and Ventisqueros, "which did not disclose the production data for 2012 and 2013." However, it points out that in the case of the first two, the information was obtained from their sustainability reports.

"It is still serious that some Chilean salmon companies deny information. The Court itself clearly established that citizens have the right to know the way in which the species they acquire and consume are produced," said van der Meer. "The information still hidden seriously affects the public interest, so it is urgent that the entire salmon industry in clarifies its numbers," she concluded.

Oceana states that Aqua Chile and Ventisqueros are among the eight companies that used the most antibiotics in absolute terms between 2012 and 2014. "In fact, Aqua Chile leads that ranking with more than 150 tons used, while Ventisqueros is seventh, with 60 tons," it explains.

Oceana report also identifies those that used the least antibiotics per tonne produced between 2012 and 2014, among which Salmones Caleta Bay SA stands out, followed by Landes Fish Farming SA, Marine Harvest SA, Salmones Antarctica SA and Mainstream SA.

The indiscriminate use of antibiotics in the food industry is a matter of international concern. The World Health Organization has pointed out that the abuse of antimicrobials contributes to the spread of bacterial resistance, one of the biggest current public health problems. Resistance occurs when the bacteria get stronger and the antibiotics used to fight them are no longer able to eliminate them.

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