France has adopted a decree on banning imports of meat from animals treated with growth antibiotics - a practice prohibited in farming within the European Union since 2006 - in a move that would mainly affect the poultry market.
France is anticipating an EU-wide measure that had been due to enter into force late last month but was delayed by missing legislation on sanitary checks, the farm ministry said in a statement.
The French ban will be effective on 22 April, giving professionals two months to obtain an assurance from their suppliers that meat does not come from breeding using growth antibiotics and to modify their supply chain if needed.
By giving antibiotics when the animals are not sick, the bacteria get used to the remedy and gradually develop resistance, making antibiotics less effective when really needed, the ministry said.
Impact On Poultry
Poultry would be by far the biggest market affected by the ban, a French farm ministry official said.
France imported about 45% of the chicken it consumed last year, including both EU and non-EU origins, French poultry industry group Anvol said on Tuesday.
The EU mainly imports poultry from Brazil, Thailand and Ukraine. It was not immediately clear how much of the imports could be affected by the ban.
Anvol welcomed France's move but said the ban would only be effective when implemented EU-wide since a lot of imports transit through the port of Rotterdam.