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Addressing AMR on a worldwide basis


The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global forum working to “transform scientific knowledge into innovative solutions for the benefit of people around the world.” They were established in 1939 and are an NGO observer to Codex. We spoke to Rosie Newsome who is Director of Science and Policy Initiatives.

Question: Antibiotics have been used in food animals for more than 50 years to treat, prevent, or control infectious disease. What is the relation to antimicrobial resistance?

IFT Response: The antibiotic resistance issue is complex and broad in scope, encompassing more factors than use of antibiotics in food animals (IFT 2006, 2013; Zhang and others 2013). The IFT Expert Report—Antimicrobial Resistance: Implications for the Food System—states, for example, that “All uses of antibiotics in human medicine and animal husbandry create selective pressure that favors emergence of antibiotic resistance among microorganisms, which could undermine the effectiveness of the antibiotics and potentially give rise to a “postantibiotic” era” (IFT 2006). Exemplifying the complexity of the issue are aspects of co-resistance and co-selection (IFT 2013), and impact of commensal bacteria which are present throughout the food chain (Zhang and others 2013).

IFT supports continued research into this complex issue. IFT publishes and promotes research advances via our peer-reviewed scientific journals, annual event, and International Policy webpage—where we provide links to reports of organizations such as FAO, WHO, OIE, and EFSA, and post alerts to FAO and WHO calls for data and experts.

lab research

IFT supports continued research into AMR

Question: A number of strategies are used throughout the food system, from agricultural production to the home, to manage the risk of antibiotic resistance. What is IFT currently doing to tackle the problem?

IFT Response: Indeed, considerable progress has been made in recent years to address the antimicrobial resistance issue (IFT 2013). Developments such as the World Health Organization’s List of Critically Important Antimicrobials for Human Medicine and World Organization for Animal Health’s List of Antimicrobials of Veterinary Importance; monitoring programs integrating human, animal, and food sampling schemes; and prudent use practices have been helpful (IFT 2013). More specifically, the European Union, the United States, and several other countries are making strides in reducing antibiotic use, but such improvements are not being seen everywhere around the world.

Question: What does the future hold for antibiotics in the food system? And what role can Codex play in this scenario?

IFT Response: Unless we can address the issue, and make advances on a worldwide basis, in developing as well as developed countries, we will continue to lose the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat human illness. Given the global nature of the food system, the issue must be addressed on a worldwide basis. Codex is in a position to help facilitate addressing the issue on a global basis.

Learn more

IFT. 2006. Antimicrobial Resistance: Implications for the Food System. An Expert Report of the Institute of Food Technologists, Chicago, Ill. Doyle MP, Busta F, Cords BR, Davidson PM, Hawke J, Hurd HS, Isaacson RE, Matthews K, Maurer J, Meng J, Montville, TJ, Shryock TR, Sofos, JN, Vidaver, AK, Vogel L. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 5:71-137. Available from:

IFT. 2013. Antimicrobial resistance: Challenges and perspectives. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 12: 234-248. A Scientific Status Summary of the Institute of Food Technologists, Chicago, Ill. Doyle MP, Loneragan GH, Scott HM, Singer RS. Available from:

Zhang L, McEntire JC, Newsome R, Wang H. 2013. Antimicrobial resistance. Ch. 2 In: Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers. Doyle MP, Buchanan RL, eds. 4th Ed. p. 19-44.Washington DC: ASM Press. Available from: