The Food Safety Authority (FSA) has published a systematic review of the available evidence on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in food - and claims there needs to be stronger surveillance at retail level.
It looks at research on the presence of AMR in bacteria in a number of different foods sold at retail and has confirmed the need for extra surveillance of AMR in food to support the wider program of work currently underway across government to help reduce levels of AMR.
The Royal Veterinary College study was carried out on behalf of the FSA and looked at the areas where consumers are more likely to be exposed to AMR in bacteria from the food chain. Researchers examined published evidence between 1999 and 2016 for pork and poultry meat, dairy products, seafood and fresh produce sold in shops.
Antimicrobial resistance is a major public health issue worldwide. It’s a complex issue driven by a variety of interconnected factors enabling microorganisms to withstand antimicrobial treatments to which they were once susceptible. The overuse and/or misuse of antibiotics has been linked to increasing the emergence and spread of microorganisms which are resistant to them, rendering treatment ineffective and posing a risk to public health, according to the FSA.
People can become exposed to AMR bacteria through a number of routes such as human-to-human spread, animals, through the environment and food chain. There is currently uncertainty around the contribution food makes to the problem of AMR and the types of AMR bacteria found in foods on retail sale in the UK. There is a need to consider the literature in this area to gain a better understanding of the potential risk to consumers through contaminated foods and also to identify the key evidence gaps.
During the study research questions were developed taking into consideration current evidence for relevant resistant foodborne pathogens and commensal bacteria observed in animals, foods and humans in European countries published by the European Food Safety Authority, feedback provided by experts and findings from scoping searches of the literature.
The publication of the research comes just ahead of this week’s Codex Alimentarius working group on AMR - this is the global food standards body which at its plenary meeting this summer decided to restart work on AMR. The working group has been organized by the FSA and will be held in London and chaired by the UK, USA and Australia. It is the first step in this new work, and will set terms of reference for the intergovernmental task force that will follow.
Source from :Food Ingredients First