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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

AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project to be presented at the global conference in Korea

Codex standards and the AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project will be presented at the Second MFDS Global Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance, which will take place in Seoul, Korea on 27-28 September 2022. The event will be organized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), the Republic of Korea. Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt will talk about Codex Standards on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and will stress the importance of their implementation. There will be a special session to introduce the ACT [...]
26 September 2022

AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project in Mongolia: Discussions with veterinarians and coverage on TV

The AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project “Implementation of Codex standards to support containment and reduction of foodborne antimicrobial resistance” was recently presented in two regional meetings of the Mongolian Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) on August 2-3 and August 6-7, 2022.  These two conferences were organized by the MVMA branch councils of the Bayankhongor and Zavkhan provinces in cooperation with the Department of Veterinary Services and the FAO office in Mongolia.  “Veterinarians were introduced to the goals and activities of the project, and [...]
22 September 2022

AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project now has a coordinator in Pakistan

The new AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project “Implementation of Codex standards to support containment and reduction of foodborne antimicrobial resistance” now has a national project coordinator in Pakistan to lead activities in the country, Dr. Farooq Tahir. “Pakistan is a country of about 220 million people and has an agro livestock-based economy, where 40 percent of the population is directly or indirectly engaged with livestock farming.  Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is an emerging public health challenge, not only globally but also locally, with [...]
20 July 2022

FAO mission assesses ability of labs to detect AMR in food and agriculture in Mongolia

As part of the new AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project, laboratory experts from FAO led a mission in June 2022 to assess the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance system in Mongolia. In addition, the mission also engaged stakeholders from the food and agriculture sectors to raise their awareness of foodborne AMR. “The aim of this mission was to assess the ability of the national laboratories to detect AMR in the food and agriculture sectors. The assessment considered activities related to data collection [...]
12 July 2022

New Codex AMR project covered on Mongolian TV news

Mongolia is one of the first countries to start assessing their national antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance system in the food and agriculture sectors. This is part of the new AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project. The project was highlighted on three national TV networks as prime-time news. “We trained 25 specialists from eight laboratories, we also conducted a workshop on the ATLASS tool with more than 100 stakeholders, assessed one regional laboratory, conducted a workshop to introduce the findings along with recommendations [...]
29 June 2022

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
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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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