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codexalimentarius > Themes > Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global threat of increasing concern to human and animal health. It also has implications for both food safety and food security and the economic well being of millions of farming households.

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.

The role of Codex in AMR

Microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi) in food are potential food safety hazards. The relationship of the use of antimicrobials (agents that can kill microorganisms or stop them from growing) in food-producing animals and the emergence of resistant microorganisms in the food chain is a concern and has been the subject of numerous national and international consultations.

The extent to which the use of antimicrobial agents in food animals (including aquaculture), horticulture or humans contributes to antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms in humans varies between the different microorganisms and different regions.

When humans ingest antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms in food, some species of microorganisms may cause illness. These and other species may also serve as a source of transferable resistance determinants for other microorganisms, including human pathogens.

In recognising the need for a more general and multidisciplinary response to deal with AMR, in 2006 Codex established a first Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance to develop science-based guidance on how to assess and manage the risks to human health associated with the presence in food and feed (including aquaculture) and the transmission through food and feed of antimicrobial resistant microorganisms. A second Task Force, recently established in response to the increased global attention to the serious threat of AMR to public health, will develop science-based guidance to enable coherent management of antimicrobial resistance along the food chain.

Other Codex texts on veterinary drugs and their residues, food hygiene, animal feed, also contribute to tackle AMR by preventing the development and minimizing the transmission of AMR through the food chain.

Related Codex Texts

Reference Title Committee Last modified
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CXC 61-2005Code of Practice to Minimize and Contain Foodborne Antimicrobial ResistanceTFAMR2021
CXG 77-2011Guidelines for Risk Analysis of Foodborne Antimicrobial ResistanceTFAMR2021
CXG 94-2021Guidelines on integrated monitoring and surveillance of foodborne antimicrobial resistance TFAMR2021

News

Leading the way in food safety: Interview with Dr. Yu-Kyoung Oh, Minister of Food and Drug Safety, Korea

Korea recently marked the successful celebration of the 22nd Korean Food Safety Day and on the occasion of this achievement, we had the opportunity to interview Yu-Kyoung Oh, the Minister of Food and Drug Safety of the Republic of Korea. We wanted to delve into the country's accomplishments in the field of food safety management. The minister shared her insights and outlined the plans to ensure that food safety remains a paramount concern in Korea.  Congratulations on the 22nd Korean Food [...]
30 June 2023

ACT project in Nepal / Training on implementation of Codex antimicrobial resistance standards

FAO Nepal in collaboration with the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development conducted a training of trainers on the implementation of Codex standards to contain and reduce foodborne antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Twenty-three government officials from various departments representing food safety, public health, animal, and plant health, as well as the environmental agencies, participated in the training on 8-10 May 2023 in Godavari, Nepal. Opening ceremony (Mr. Shailesh Kumar Jha, Deputy Director General, Department of [...]
30 May 2023

ACT project: Cambodia sets priorities to combat AMR

A roadmap workshop took place on 27 April 2023 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia bringing together all relevant stakeholders to identify their priorities for addressing foodborne antimicrobial resistance (AMR), as part of the “Action to support implementation of Codex AMR (ACT)” project. Held in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, the workshop was attended by 44 participants from various ministries, associations, institutes, and academia.    “I would like to express the government’s support in the fight against antimicrobial resistance [...]
17 May 2023

Three webinars on Codex and food safety for Latin America and the Caribbean

Three webinars for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in 2023 to strengthen the implementation of Codex standards.  The webinar on future challenges in food safety will be held in April, followed by the webinar on the application of Codex standards (regional experiences) in July, and the webinar on food safety under the One Health approach will take place in October.  “The growing population worldwide, the increase in food demand, and the consequent growth of the food industry added to [...]
18 April 2023

ACT project in Mongolia: Prudent use of antimicrobials discussed among herders

The “Action to support implementation of Codex AMR Texts (ACT)” project was presented at the Herders Forum in Mongolia on 2 March 2023, where more than 400 herders, livestock specialists, and local governors discussed the government's policies for the development of the agricultural sector, livestock production and responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial drugs and food safety. “This was a good opportunity to present the ACT project and discuss the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial drugs in livestock. Our survey, [...]
03 April 2023

ACT project: Building networks is critical to achieving project goals

Representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety reviewed the progress and priorities of the project “Action to support implementation of Codex AMR Texts (ACT)” at a consultation meeting earlier this March.   Attending the session, Tom Heilandt, Codex Secretary, said: "We are happy to implement the ACT project with the support from the Government of Korea. This year Codex is turning 60. This project is one of the [...]
15 March 2023

ACT Project


Key Facts

  • Around 500.000 human deaths each year are related to antimicrobial resistance 
  • 27 different antimicrobial classes are used in animals. 
  • Total global animal health market in 2011 was equivalent to USD 22 billion (OECD) 
  • Only 42 countries have a system to collect data on the use of antimicrobials in livestock (OIE)
  • No standardized data available on the global use of antimicrobials in livestock

Source FAO


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