FSAI report calls for response to “antimicrobial resistance”

Dr. Pamela Byrne, FSAI chief executive
Dr. Pamela Byrne, FSAI chief executive

Scientists at the Food Safety Authority are warning of the potential threat of infections trasmitting from livestock to humans through the food chain

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3 December 2015 | 0

The transmission of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the food chain poses a serious impact, according to a scientific report published today by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. The report recommends a series of intersecting strategies designed to reduce this risk, including veterinary, human and environmental.

AMR occurs as a result of using antimicrobial agents (such as antibiotics) to treat infections, whereby such agents become ineffective. AMR is now recognised worldwide as a significant threat to human and animal health, as well as potentially serious consequences for the agri-food sector.

The new reports concludes that AMR bacteria can be transmitted to humans through the food chain. While just how much this transmission can contribute to health problems in humans is unclear, it states that action is needed to combat the growing problem nonetheless.

The report suggests reducing the use of antimicrobial bodies by improving measures in place to prevent infection; when antimicrobial treatment is required, it should be done “prudently”, and that improved training and therapeutic guidelines be introduced.

According to FSAI Chief Executive Dr. Pamela Byrne, AMR should be seen as a shared challenge, and requires a vigorous response at each stage of the food chain. “Continuing emphasis on good agricultural practice, good hygiene practice and robust food safety management systems are fundamental,” Byrne says, “as these are key safeguards against transfer of bacteria including antimicrobial-resistant bacteria through the food chain.

“This issue should be addressed urgently,” she added, “before it becomes more difficult and expensive to treat and control infections in medical care, and to maintain animal health and welfare.”

A copy of the report, Potential for Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain is available on the FSAI website: https://www.fsai.ie/publications_AMR/.

 

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