Antimicrobial Resistance and the Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Kepak’s Supply Chain

Kepak welcomes and supports the launch of Ireland’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). This National Action Plan was developed in line with the objectives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) global initiative to combat the misuse of antibiotics. WHO defines AMR as follows:

The ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective.

AMR is a growing issue in both human and animal health care. Kepak support the responsible and prudent use of antibiotics. From an animal welfare perspective where they need to be administered for specific ailments; adopting a balanced and proportionate response focused on infection and disease control.

WHO have defined a set of “critically important” antibiotics such as Fluoroquinolones and 3rd and 4th Generation Cephalosporins, Macrolides and Glycopeptides. For antibiotics of this variety, which are authorised for use in Ireland, it is stipulated that these are not to be used except as last resort treatments following disease diagnosis, and where possible after susceptibility testing has been carried out.

Kepak promote the following objectives with regard to preventative treatment or prophylaxis:

  • Treatment must only be applied to animals diagnosed as being at high risk of acquiring a bacterial disease
  • Treatment must only occur under prescription by a veterinarian on the basis of epidemiological and clinical knowledge
  • Treatment must not be applied systematically or routinely
  • Treatment must never be used to compensate for poor hygiene or for inadequate husbandry conditions


Kepak are active in demonstrating and promoting the best practice approach to minimise and strive to eliminate the use of antibiotics. We have developed a “Healthy Herd Programme” in conjunction with our nutritional and veterinary partners and our partner customers, which aims to give guidance to farmers on practices that can result in positive effects for the animal, the consumer and the environment. Included in the objectives of this programme are reducing disease, reducing stress, improving hygiene and improving biosecurity without compromising animal performance.

As a key objective within our Centre of Excellence Farm, we closely monitor and measure the use of these “critically important” antibiotics and in consultation with our veterinary partners investigate and implement procedures and practices to further reduce and where possible eliminate their usage.

Our sourcing policy for all meat proteins procured outside Kepak Group will also consider the antibiotic status of the product and a key objective will be to prioritise the sourcing of product which is produced under a policy which is aligned to our own.

Kepak Group commits to being proactive in working with national agencies, partner customers and professional and Agri-business bodies in advocating best practice aimed at minimising and eventual elimination of the use of microbial resistance inducing antibiotics.

Kepak commits to supporting national, sectoral and customer initiatives aimed at delivering these goals.