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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
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


Mongolia planning to assess national antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance system

A mission will take place in Mongolia from 20 to 27 June, 2022 to assess the national antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance system in the food and agriculture sectors. This activity is part of the new AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project “Implementation of Codex standards to support containment and reduction of foodborne antimicrobial resistance”, supported by the Government of Korea. FAO has developed the “FAO Assessment Tool for Laboratories and Antimicrobial resistance Surveillance Systems (FAO-ATLASS)“ in order to support countries in assessing [...]
17 June 2022

Stakeholders in food and agriculture meet to evaluate implementation progress of Cambodia’s Antimicrobial Resistance

Cambodia is actively engaged in adopting the CODEX AMR standards to support the containment and reduction of foodborne antimicrobial resistance, and it is one of six countries to join the AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project. A range of stakeholders, including the government, farmers, academia and the private sector convened a workshop in Siem Reap from 16 to 18 May 2022 to review the national efforts to contain AMR.  The workshop was jointly organized by the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries [...]
23 May 2022

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 [...]
17 February 2022

FAO launches foodborne AMR project with online inception event

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is launching a new project to facilitate the implementation of Codex Standards on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to support the containment and reduction of foodborne AMR. The project will kick off with an inception event on Thursday 17 February 2022 from 14:00-15:00 CET, with a focus on the Latin America region. Food safety and AMR experts from FAO together with representatives from Codex and the Republic of Korea will introduce the background, [...]
17 February 2022

Lancet study emphasizes the need to address AMR data gaps

The publication of two Codex standards on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) coincides with a study in the Lancet released on 19 January 2022 that describes AMR as “one of the leading public health threats of the 21st century”. The Lancet study emphasizes the need to address data gaps by expanding data collection which Codex is addressing through its new guidelines on integrated monitoring and surveillance of foodborne antimicrobial surveillance, adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in December 2021. An incredible achievement to [...]
20 January 2022

TFAMR / an incredible achievement to complete work on new guidance on AMR surveillance

The Codex task force on antimicrobial resistance had to go into extra time on Wednesday 13 October 2021 but has succeeded in recommending that new Guidelines on Integrated Monitoring and Surveillance of Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) will be sent for final adoption at the Codex Alimentarius Commission in November 2021. Chairperson Yong Ho Park, Republic of Korea, said: “We knew the task would not be easy. I applaud with pride the compromises made by so many wonderful people to achieve our [...]
14 October 2021

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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