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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

ACT project / Jorge Pinto Ferreira, FAO, describes how six countries evaluated their implementation of Codex AMR Texts

As part of the “Action to support implementation of Codex AMR Texts (ACT)” project, six countries have finished assessing their antimicrobial resistance (AMR) situation, in particular the status of implementation of measures to minimize and contain foodborne AMR. This was part of capacity building activities to manage the development and transmission of foodborne AMR through the adoption and implementation of relevant Codex standards. To learn more about this process and the expected impact, we talked to Jorge Pinto Ferreira, FAO [...]
04 January 2023

ACT project / Pakistan brings together 50 experts to discuss progress on AMR

As part of the “Action to support implementation of Codex AMR Texts (ACT)” project, FAO Pakistan organized a national workshop on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on 24-26 October 2022 in Islamabad, Pakistan. More than 50 experts representing different sectors concerned with AMR human health, animal health, agriculture, poultry, dairy and pharmaceutical industry reviewed the key areas of the AMR National Action Plan (NAP).  “We assessed the progress of the implementation, as well as engaged food and agriculture stakeholders, and identified gaps and [...]
28 November 2022

ACT project part of One Health approach to combat antimicrobial resistance in foodborne pathogens

WHO roundtable discussion in Croatia Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is not only a human health threat, but also a food safety issue. Antimicrobial use in food animals – for treatment, disease prevention or, in some countries outside the European Union, growth promotion – allows resistant bacteria and resistance genes to emerge and spread from food animals to humans through the food chain. To address this issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) organized a roundtable discussion on 10 November 2022, in close collaboration [...]
11 November 2022

AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project welcomes national coordinators in Bolivia, Cambodia, Colombia and Nepal

The AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project now has national coordinators in Bolivia, Cambodia, Colombia and Nepal. Jorge Berrios (Bolivia), Ana Carrizosa (Colombia) and Sakar Shivakoti (Nepal) are veterinarians with extensive experience in health management and inter-institutional coordination. Pisey Oum (Cambodia) brings his knowledge in biosafety, biotechnology and food assessment from different UN organizations.  “We need to know more in-depth about the current situation of the use of antimicrobials in Bolivia. This will allow us to plan better the actions in reducing [...]
11 November 2022

AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project in Bolivia and Colombia / coverage on national TV as workshops evaluate progress

Bolivia and Colombia held national workshops to evaluate their progress in the development of national action plans for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the food and agriculture sector. As part of the AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project, the workshop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, took place on 12-14 October 2022, and 18-20 October 2022 in Bogota, Colombia. It was attended by more than 50 stakeholders from public and private sectors in both countries, including animal and plant production, food safety, public health, [...]
31 October 2022

Training on Codex standards for young professionals in Korea

Young professionals from the different agencies of the Government of the Republic of Korea attended the tenth edition of the training course “Understanding Codex” in Osong, hosted by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on 29 September 2022. “We highly appreciate your efforts in protecting consumer health and ensuring fair trade practices. The Ministry believes that the partnership with Codex is very important to achieve a common goal in terms of food safety,” said Oh-Sang Kwon, Vice Minister of Food [...]
11 October 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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