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Antimicrobial resistance. Understanding where it is and how to target it key to reducing risks


World Antimicrobial Awareness Week runs from 18 to 22 November 2019, and is an annual, global event through which FAO, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and WHO raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a serious health and livelihoods issue. The three organizations encourage stakeholders to treat antibiotics and other antimicrobials as a precious resource to be used prudently and responsibly.

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.

Codex task force

In 2017, the Codex task force was charged with developing science-based guidance on the management of foodborne AMR. This guidance will help countries identify mitigation measures to contain foodborne AMR along the food chain

The task force is also developing guidelines on integrated monitoring and surveillance of foodborne antimicrobial resistance When countries obtain accurate data with information on both AMR itself and on antimicrobial use, they are able to deliver effective and practical risk management advice.

As reported by @FAOAfrica, in Kenya representatives from regional and national organizations combatting AMR showed commitment to mitigate AMR risks and support the implementation of AMR National Action Plans (main photo).

Did you know?

  • Antimicrobial is a class of medicines, which include antibiotics. It is used to treat bacterial infections in humans and animals.
  • There is a growing global trend of increasing AMR threatening health, food security and development because of antimicrobial misuse.
  • Resistant bacteria can be transferred between animals, humans and the environment. If we do not use antimicrobials responsibly, then we are headed towards catastrophic and costly consequences.
  • AMR, antimicrobial resistance, occurs when bacteria or other microbes develop resistance to antimicrobials such as antibiotics or other drugs used to treat bacterial or fungal infections.
  • People with infections caused by AMR bacteria will be harder and more expensive to treat effectively.

Read more

Codex Guidelines for Risk Analysis of Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance (CX 77-2011)

Proposed draft revision of the Code of practice to minimize and contain foodborne antimicrobial resistance (CXC 61-2005, currently under development)

Proposed draft Guidelines on integrated monitoring and surveillance of foodborne antimicrobial resistance (currently under development – see draft)


Visit the FAO WAAW website

Visit the WHO WAAW website

Try the AMR awareness activities on line