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Discussion Paper: Risk Profile on the Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria in Food (Agenda Item 11)[13]

134. The Committee recalled that it had agreed at the last session that the Delegation of Denmark, together with its drafting partners, would revise discussion paper CX/FH 99/12 in the form of a risk profile. The Delegation of Denmark introduced the revised document, CX/FH 00/11, and emphasised that the emergence of microbial resistant bacteria in foods was a significant public health problem which also needs to be addressed from a food hygiene perspective and that immediate action by various Committees including CCRVDF and the ad hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Animal Feeding was important.

135. The Delegation recommended that the Committee commission a risk assessment for specific scenarios relating to antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in foods and suggested that quinolone-resistant Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry should be the top priority.

136. The Delegation proposed that the Committee consider developing recommendations for the management of specific antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in foods, taking into account the outcome of future risk assessments and that the WHO Global Principles for the Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance Due to Antimicrobial Use in Livestock be elaborated into a Codex document by the relevant Committees. The Delegation noted that the problem could be better addressed at the source and that the prohibition of certain classes of antibiotic might be a possible management option.

137. The Committee thanked the Delegation of Denmark and its drafting partners for their work. It acknowledged the public health risks associated with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in foods. Several delegations stated that the Committee should commission a risk assessment as proposed, however some other delegations expressed the view that the risk profile should be further elaborated before commissioning the risk assessment. The Delegation of Norway pointed out that antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in foods was a food hygiene issue that also needed to be addressed by the CCFH.

138. The Committee recalled that it had agreed at the last session to ask the advice of the Executive Committee on how to ensure proper coordination of work between concerned Committees, and that the Executive Committee at its 47th session in June 2000 recognized the importance of a risk profile to determine which subjects falls within the terms of reference of the CCFH[14]. The Committee discussed the appropriateness of forwarding the discussion paper (CX/FH 00/11) to the Executive Committee as the document had been prepared in a requested format. While several delegations and the Observer from the Consumers International supported this idea particularly given the importance of this problem to public health, some other delegations emphasised the need for further scrutiny of the document before forwarding it.

139. The Delegation of Germany indicated that: 1) in Section B, “Bacterial pathogens with food animal reservoirs,” in both the first and second paragraphs, the words “ the principle” should be replaced with “one”, as there were other reservoirs of antibiotic resistance straints of Salmonella and Camplylobacter in humans and water; 2) on page 3, the paragraph on Antimicrobial use, the need for international validation of the principle of “reservation for human medicine” should be included in the recommendations of the document: 3) on page 6, Section 5 on Distribution of Benefits and Risks, the idea that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters has greater risk than their prophylactic use needs detailed risk assessment to be so concluded; and 4) on page 7, Section , HACCP, the introduction of “good farming practice” is a more suitable tool at the farm level than the introduction of HACCP.

140. The Representative of WHO fully supported the document and stated that it was in line with WHO policy and reports and scientific understanding of the problem. The representative noted that the implementation of measures which control existing misuse of antimicrobials is at least as important as risk assessments. This view was supported by Consumers International.

141. The Delegation of Australia pointed out that on page 6, under Distribution of Benefit and Risk, in the first paragraph, the statement that “the benefit of this use may be relatively small” needs further review with data. The Delegation of Japan indicated that on page 6, fourth paragraph, the sentence “the use of anitibiotics for growth promotion should be prohibited” be deleted as this point was being discussed at the Task Force on Animal Feeding. The Observer from COMISA referred to its CRD 4 which included the concerns to be further addressed by the Committee (that document would be archived by the Secretariat in Rome).

142. The Committee agreed that that the current document CX/FH 00/11 be forwarded to the Codex Executive Committee to assist their decision on the coordination of the work between the Committees concerned with the consideration for the work of other international organizations (OIE). There was some support for the conclusions and recommendations in the discussion paper and the Committee requested that the Delegation of Denmark revise the discussion paper taking into account the comments made at the Session. The revised discussion paper would be circulated prior to the next session of the Committee.

[13] CRD 4 (comments of COMISA and OIE).
[14] ALINORM 01/03 paragraph 51

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