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Compendium of Codex AMR texts provides complete framework for decision makers to address foodborne AMR


A timely new compendium of Codex texts to support countries in the fight against foodborne antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was published on Thursday 17 February 2022 at a launch event of a new FAO project, sponsored by the Republic of Korea, that will support implementation of Codex guidance in this field.

Countries have different approaches and interests when it comes to use of antimicrobials for animal and plant health and the potential for AMR carry-over or transmission into foods. The overarching international guidance provided by Codex will allow countries to set their own priorities and needs within a harmonized framework.

Speaking at the project launch event, Sarah Cahill of the Codex Secretariat said: “These inter-related texts bring together more than a decade of Codex work on AMR and illustrate how fundamental approaches like Risk Analysis and One Health are to addressing complex issues such as that posed by foodborne antimicrobial resistance.”

“The Codex texts on foodborne AMR complete the triad of what decision-makers need to address foodborne AMR; how and from where to get the data, how to conduct risk analysis, what to do to mitigate the risk and by whom,” said a spokesperson for the Canadian team closely involved with the development of the guidance.

The code of practice to minimize and contain antimicrobial resistance represents a comprehensive update of risk management tools developed since the adoption of the previous version,” said Don Prater, the United States of America, who led the working group on this text.  “It includes important concepts in AMR risk management, such as the One Health approach, and contains guidance that countries may implement, as part of their national strategy to mitigate the risk of foodborne AMR.”

Rosa Peran, the Netherlands, who chaired the working group on the most recent Codex text said: “The Guidelines on integrated monitoring and surveillance of foodborne AMR will assist governments with how to gather data on antimicrobial use and resistance in food, veterinary and agricultural systems to inform the risk analysis process and risk management decisions. The guidelines provide flexible options that may be adapted to the resources, capacity and priorities of each country.”

“This Compendium of Standards, in addition to being a convenient reference for food safety professionals, represents in a very tangible way the vision of a suite of Codex texts to address foodborne AMR.  From integrated monitoring and surveillance as inputs to risk assessment to risk management and risk communication, it covers the cycle of risk analysis for foodborne AMR,” said Prater.

“The adoption of these two Codex texts marks the beginning of our work, not its end, “said Steve Wearne, Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.  “Just like all Codex standards, we will not have made a difference, we will not have delivered an impact until the two newly-adopted texts on AMR area communicated, understood, implemented and used.”

Codex Secretary, Tom Heilandt, addressing over 300 participants who took part in the FAO project launch event said: “This is the way it should be … Codex texts fresh from the Commission and a project for implementation ready to go at the same time.”


Learn more

Foodborne antimicrobial resistance Compendium of Codex standards

ACT Project on the FAO AMR website