The use of antimicrobial agents is essential for both animal and human health. However, the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and pathogenic organisms that are resistant to antimicrobials, is of global concern.
In 2001, considering that non-human antimicrobial usage and resistance is a multifactorial problem, and thus requires a multidisciplinary approach, the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) recommended that FAO, OIE and WHO should convene an expert consultation to advise the CAC on possible directions to be taken to address the issues related to non-human antimicrobial use at different steps of the food-chain, the emergence of resistant pathogens and associated human public health concerns.
The advice required by Codex needed to include risk assessment issues as well as risk management implications, and joint FAO/WHO/OIE workshops on antimicrobial usage and resistance have been organized in accordance with the principles of the Codex risk analysis framework.
To date, a number of meetings have been held as follows:
In 2003, a preliminary workshop dealt with scientific assessment.
In 2004, a second workshop outlined management issues as well as mitigation strategies, based on the preliminary scientific assessment of antimicrobial use in the food-chain and its consequences for human public health.
In 2006, a joint expert consultation on antimicrobial use in aquaculture and antimicrobial resistance was completed.
In 2007, a Joint FAO/WHO/OIE expert meeting on Critically Important Antimicrobials was held from 26 to 30 November in Rome, Italy. The report is available here.