Food safety and quality

Foodborne antimicrobial resistance needs ‘all hands on deck’


The Global Conference on Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), held on 27-28 September 2022 in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, highlighted the need for a One Health approach to address antimicrobial resistance in food. Collaboration across sectors to promote human, animal, plant and environmental health would result in greater food safety, the conference heard.

This Global Conference on Foodborne AMR is a forum where participants can learn, share ideas, and be empowered to adopt strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance in the food supply. The event was organized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), the Republic of Korea. This year's conference was the second in what is becoming an annual appointment on calendars worldwide.

The conference was opened by Seong Do Rhee, Director General of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau in the Republic of Korea, and welcome remarks were given by Yu-Kyoung Oh, Minister of Food and Drug Safety. Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt talked about Codex standards on AMR and stressed the importance of their implementation.

During a special session, the FAO AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project was introduced and its progress outlined. This new project, supported by the Government of Korea, works to help six focus countries in Asia and Latin America (Bolivia, Cambodia, Colombia, Mongolia, Nepal and Pakistan) with the implementation of Codex standards globally and locally, especially those related to the containment and reduction of foodborne AMR and monitoring and surveillance of the same. This approach provides a complete framework for decision-makers to address foodborne AMR.

One of the expected results is to strengthen capacities to manage the development and transmission of foodborne AMR. Codex Guidelines for Risk Analysis, Codex Guidelines for AMR Integrated Surveillance, and the Code of Practice serve as key documents.

“The Codex Code of Practice describes the responsibilities that a wide variety of different stakeholders have in contributing to the reduced need of antimicrobials along the food chain. Its implementation will have a significant impact on the control of the foodborne AMR,” said Jorge Pinto Ferreira, FAO Food Safety Officer..

FAO food safety officers also presented the FAO tools that countries can use to monitor the implementation of AMR Codex standards, for example, the new data platform InFARM. The project coordinator in Mongolia, one of the project’s focus countries, shared their experience and lessons learned while implementing this project.

In closing, Jeffrey LeJeune, FAO Food Safety Officer and Lead Technical Officer of the ACT project, described the current challenge of foodborne as a perfect storm that requires “All hands on deck!”, as a metaphor to call for coordinated actions, using a One Health approach, to address what is a ‘wicked problem’.

Around 460 people from over 60 countries participated online, and around 50 people participated in person.

For more information about the conference, please visit here 

Read more about the AMR Codex Texts (ACT) project

Visit the FAO site on AMR

Download the publication Foodborne antimicrobial resistance: Compendium of Codex standards


Photo: ©Lee Kun-woo

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