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codexalimentarius > Themes > Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global threat of increasing concern to human and animal health. It also has implications for both food safety and food security and the economic well being of millions of farming households.

Food plays an important role in the development and spread of AMR. The presence of AMR microorganisms in agricultural production systems and food chains is a potential route of exposure for everyone. Good hygiene practices in agriculture, fundamental in achieving food safety, are also key to addressing antimicrobial resistance.

The role of Codex in AMR

Microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi) in food are potential food safety hazards. The relationship of the use of antimicrobials (agents that can kill microorganisms or stop them from growing) in food-producing animals and the emergence of resistant microorganisms in the food chain is a concern and has been the subject of numerous national and international consultations.

The extent to which the use of antimicrobial agents in food animals (including aquaculture), horticulture or humans contributes to antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms in humans varies between the different microorganisms and different regions.

When humans ingest antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms in food, some species of microorganisms may cause illness. These and other species may also serve as a source of transferable resistance determinants for other microorganisms, including human pathogens.

In recognising the need for a more general and multidisciplinary response to deal with AMR, in 2006 Codex established a first Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance to develop science-based guidance on how to assess and manage the risks to human health associated with the presence in food and feed (including aquaculture) and the transmission through food and feed of antimicrobial resistant microorganisms. A second Task Force, recently established in response to the increased global attention to the serious threat of AMR to public health, will develop science-based guidance to enable coherent management of antimicrobial resistance along the food chain.

Other Codex texts on veterinary drugs and their residues, food hygiene, animal feed, also contribute to tackle AMR by preventing the development and minimizing the transmission of AMR through the food chain.

Related Codex Texts

Reference Title Committee Last modified
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CXC 61-2005Code of Practice to Minimize and Contain Antimicrobial ResistanceCCRVDF2005
CXG 77-2011Guidelines for Risk Analysis of Foodborne Antimicrobial ResistanceTFAMR2011

News

Online webinar seeks to build consensus around antimicrobial text under development

Close to 200 participants gathered online on 19 January 2021 for the first of two webinars aimed at building understanding on a Codex text currently being drafted in the Codex antimicrobial resistance task force (TFAMR). The text in question is the Guidelines on Integrated Monitoring and Surveillance of Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance which is being developed to assist governments when they design and implement their own AMR surveillance programmes. Typically, this type of programme will involve collecting and analyzing data from [...]
20 January 2021

Codex webinar series to discuss critical text on antimicrobial resistance

A webinar to discuss key issues on a Codex text regarding antimicrobial resistance (AMR), currently being drafted, will take place online on 19 and 20 January 2021. Working groups are established by Codex committees, usually to develop draft texts between sessions and traditionally operate by correspondence through online platforms such as forums and commenting systems. The suspension of formal physical committee meetings and the need to advance work, combined with experience and familiarity gained by many in participating in virtual events [...]
10 January 2021

Workshop series launches Jamaican surveillance programme during antimicrobial awareness week

Development of the Jamaica Integrated Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Monitoring and Surveillance Programme for the Agriculture Sector Jamaica joined the world in celebrating World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, which ran from 18-24 November, 2020, via hosting of six AMR workshops on various livestock species to highlight the importance of antimicrobial resistance and gather information for the development of an Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance programme for the livestock sector. The animal production meetings were held from November 18-26 with participation by government officials from the [...]
04 December 2020
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Key Facts

  • Around 500.000 human deaths each year are related to antimicrobial resistance 
  • 27 different antimicrobial classes are used in animals. 
  • Total global animal health market in 2011 was equivalent to USD 22 billion (OECD) 
  • Only 42 countries have a system to collect data on the use of antimicrobials in livestock (OIE)
  • No standardized data available on the global use of antimicrobials in livestock

Source FAO

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