The European Court of Justice rejected appeals by Pfizer and Alpharma to lift an EU ban on sales of four subtherapeutic antibiotics. A ban was instituted in July 1999 on the following feed additives: bacitracin zinc, spiramycin, tylosin phosphate and virginamycin.

In its ruling, Europe’s second highest court cited consumer concerns eating meat from livestock treated with the subtherapeutic antibiotics would make humans resistant to antibiotics.

The ECJ issued this statement, "Despite uncertainty as to whether there is a link between the use of certain antibiotics as additives and increased resistance to those antibiotics in humans, the ban on the products is not a disproportionate measure given the need to protect public health."

The companies have two months to file a final appeal against the ban.