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Antibiotic Leak Refuted

AUSTRALIA - Fears that antibiotics used in farming have been found at high levels in wild fish have been refuted by the Salmon industry.

Reports in the Sunday Tasmanian/Mercury says that industry tests, done before Christmas, had found antibiotics in wild fish stocks, including flathead. The levels were said to be four times the levels allowed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

But the industry has refused to release the results publicly until at least July -- more than six months after the tests -- while recreational fishers remain oblivious to the potential risk.

Scientists believe consuming high levels of antibiotics in food can increase the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to humans.

While farmed fish are quarantined so that antibiotics levels are low before harvest, no such safeguards exist for wild fish that may have eaten contaminated feed.

Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association executive officer Pheroze Jungalwalla admitted antibiotics had been found in wild fish in the past but said there was no cause for alarm from the latest survey.

"We are very comfortable with the results that will come out, so we have no problem publishing it when it is completed," he said.

View the Tasmanian/Mercury story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy

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