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In last week's Veterinary Record, we ran a story ‘Don't blame vets for colistin use’, which quoted David Burch (VR, March 4, 2017, vol 180, p 212). We would like to clarify that Mr Burch was commenting on the medical use of carbapenem in countries in southern Europe, Turkey and Syria, where carbapenemase resistance is already high (ECDC 2016; SVARM 2016), rather than the veterinary use of colistin. In terms of veterinary use, colistin is used at a very low level in the UK but has been used extensively in some countries, including for growth promotion, particularly in China (Lu and others 2010), where the mcr-1 resistance gene was first identified. We sincerely apologise for this mistake.