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World Antibiotic Awareness Week 14-20 November 2016


Handle antibiotics with care

Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause. It is one of the biggest threats to globalo health, food security and development today.

How can antibiotic resistance spread in food?

When antibiotics are given to food producing animals or crops, the animals develop drug-resistant bacteria in their gut. These bacteria can then reach humans through food, through the environment or by human-animal contact.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week 14-20 November

World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

Codex, by nature, is an ideal intergovernmental, multi-sectoral forum to discuss solutions to combat antimicrobial resistance, which cuts across public health, agriculture and trade.

Dr Kazuaki Miyagishima, Director Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses - WHO

Codex and antibiotic resistance


The 2005 Codex Code of Practice on minimizing and containing antibiotic resistance (referred to in Codex texts as “antimicrobial resistance” or AMR) defines the respective responsibilities of authorities and groups involved in the authorization, production, control, distribution and use of veterinary antimicrobials such as the national regulatory authorities, the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, veterinarians, distributors and producers of food-producing animals.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted a second text in 2011. These guidelines provide a structured risk analysis framework to address the risks to human health associated with the presence of AMR in food and animal feed.

Codex task force

The 2016 Codex Alimentarius Commission acknowledged that AMR is a serious public health threat requiring urgent attention by Codex, and that a coordinated approach was needed at the international and national level to combat AMR.

The Commission has established an Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance to be hosted by the Republic of Korea which will develop a structured and long term strategy to address this global issue and a preliminary meeting is taking place in London from 29 November to 2 December.

One of the countries participating in the London meeting is Australia. Mr Greg Read, Chair of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems said: “the fight against AMR is complex, multifaceted, and an immediate global priority, therefore in response Codex will provide decisive and strong international leadership to develop codex guidance for application by countries at the national level aimed at minimising the AMR risk associated with food”


For further information throughout this antibiotic awareness week: