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Codex task force seeking consensus on antimicrobial resistance


Interview with Professor Yong Ho Park during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

The 43rd Codex Alimentarius Commission, which ended on Friday 6 November focused on the draft standards relayed by the committees that were held since September 2019. Among the topics discussed was the work of the Ad hoc Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (TFAMR), an area of great international interest.

After a lengthy discussion, Members agreed on the preliminary adoption of the revision of Code of Practice to Minimize and Contain Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance (CXC 61-2005),noting the importance of finalizing the work at the next meeting, TFAMR08 which will be held in 2021, due to the urgency of AMR issues.

We spoke with the Chairperson of TFAMR, Professor Yong Ho Park of the Republic of Korea, which hosts the committee, to have an overview of the task force’s work.

Q. What was your impression of this year’s discussion at CAC43 of the work of TFAMR07 in 2019?

I would like to start by thanking the participants in the latest session of the TFAMR for their work in TFAMR 7 and CAC43 as well. Indeed, AMR is a complex issue. We spent the whole three-hour long session for the revision of the Code of Practice. Compromise was not easy on AMR issues, but this proves the significance of AMR. I saw enthusiasm for compromise from Member Countries.

Q. In a few words, what did CAC43 task TFAMR08 with?

I believe the task given by CAC is to finish our work: revising Code of Practice to Minimize and Contain Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance; and drafting Guidelines on Integrated Monitoring and Surveillance of Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance, during the upcoming 8thsession of TFAMR in 2021 to respond to the urgency of addressing AMR.

Q. How do you plan to prepare for TFAMR08 – what challenges, if any, do you foresee?

Preparation, preparation and preparation. Preparation is the most emphasized to minimize uncertainty in the time of the pandemic and uncertainty of how the discussion goes on the complex issue of AMR.

I, as a Chair of TFAMR, in collaboration with the Codex Secretariat, will seek every possibility to support the discussion before and during the TFAMR session.

Q. What is your hope for the outcome of this work? How do you see it making a difference in countries around the world?

I hope to see harmonized practices around the world, easy monitoring and surveillance worldwide, and quick comparisons of results between countries. When scientific evidence becomes solid, the level of the documents can aim higher.

Q. What will be key to achieving that hope?

I understand the different levels of national resources and priorities. At the same time, I believe that a compromise is the way of settling differences with everybody making concessions.

FAO, WHO and OIE and other related organizations are closely collaborating to minimize AMR. I hope and expect the upcoming 8th session of the TFAMR08 to make a great progress for a better world and for next generations in line with the international cooperation.


Learn more

Codex work on AMR

Is AMR a food safety issue? Interview with Jeff LeJeune, FAO Food Safety Officer

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week in FAO

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week in WHO