Policies

Policy: Use of medication

Policy for use of antimicrobial agents

Purpose

Lerøy Seafood Group (Lerøy) emphasises the importance of preventive operating practice, aiming to reduce the number of incidences involving disease in fish. In certain situations, however, the disease and needs may require use of antimicrobial agents to treat disease in fish.

The purpose of this policy is to provide a principal description of how the Group approaches use of antimicrobial agents.

Valid for

This policy applies to all persons who handle or are in contact with antibacterial agents.

Definitions

Antimicrobial agents: Active substances used to treat bacterial infections and classified as medicines by Norwegian medicines legislation. Antimicrobial agents are only used when medical indications imply that they are needed.

Antibiotic resistance: The ability of bacteria to resist the effect of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is caused by use of antibiotics, and the most important measure in preventing the development of antibiotic resistance is to reduce the use of antibiotics.

 

Framework and principles

Use of antibacterial agents

Lerøy aims to avoid unnecessary use of antimicrobial agents. To achieve this, a number of different preventive measures are implemented and are part of a preventive operating practice including vaccination, risk management, disease control, structural measures, early diagnoses etc.

The use of antimicrobial agents is seen as a last line of defence and only applied in situations where deemed necessary to protect fish welfare, and when factors relating to food safety, the environment, resistance and effect have been clarified.

Moreover, antimicrobial agents are only used when prescribed by authorised fish health personnel, and the only agents used are those approved by Norwegian medicines authorities.

 

Prevention of antibiotic resistance

In situations that require the use of antibiotics, the risk of resistance development is managed by means of the following principles:

  1. Choice of agents: Bacterial isolates are tested with a view to sensitivity, and Lerøy avoids – to the extent possible – groups of agents classified by the WHO as critically important for human medicine.
  2. Medication: Medication is only used when prescribed by authorised fish health personnel and according to their instructions.
  3. Retention period: A retention period before slaughter is established for fish treated with antibiotics. The retention period is stipulated by authorised fish health personnel, aiming to ensure that the level of agents in the product for human consumption is below the maximum residue limit (MRL). Residue amounts are documented by means of sampling.
  4. Use of protective equipment: All personnel administering and in close contact with antibiotics to treat fish shall wear protective equipment, such as clothing and respiratory masks, in order to prevent antibiotic resistance among the employees.
  5. Cleaning contaminated equipment and materials: Equipment that has been in contact with antibiotics shall be cleaned before it can be used again in production.

 

Roles and responsibilities

  • All employees in contact with antibacterial agents or who prescribe these are responsible for following the policy.
  • The top management in each company is responsible for ensuring that the company has personnel with the competencies required to ensure compliance with local regulations.

 

Policy ownership and implementation

  • The COO Farming is the owner of this document, and is responsible for updates and maintenance.
  • The COO Farming is assigned principal responsibility for the policy and is also responsible for ensuring its implementation and compliance.
  • The policy requires the approval of the corporate management at Lerøy, and shall be presented to the Group's Board of Directors.
  • The CEO of Lerøy Seafood Group has overall responsibility for the policy.