Food safety and quality

New FAO publication: Legislation to slow down superbugs


Addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) can be a challenge from a legislative perspective: AMR is often defined as the quintessential food safety issue because it involves food, humans, animals and the environment. It would be time-consuming and confusing to create new legislation that addresses an issue covering so many different areas. Instead, legislation that already exists can be revised by looking at it through new lenses to help slow down the spread of AMR.

In April 2021, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific published a booklet entitled “Slowing down superbugs – Legislation and antimicrobial resistance”. This concise resource outlines how existing legislation that is relevant to the problem can be adapted, rather than creating ad hoc legislation on the topic. 

The evidence linking food safety and AMR is sufficient to allow regulatory action starting from the existing legislation: for example, maximum residue limits of antimicrobials or other substances have a role in combatting AMR, and food safety legislation can be adapted to monitor and control them. However, there are still areas that require better understanding to develop the necessary standards and to craft impactful regulatory interventions.  

Existing regulatory mechanisms can be used to introduce AMR-relevant considerations and examples of these are reported in the booklet. International technical guidance on managing antimicrobial resistance and methods to analyse AMR-relevant legislation in the food and agriculture sector are provided by FAO and the Codex Alimentarius, and links are readily available in the booklet for those who need to understand more. 

Download the publication: 
FAO Food safety toolkit booklet 8 - Slowing down superbugs – Legislation and antimicrobial resistance  

For more information: 

Share this page