June 21, 2021

EFSA identifies feed, humans as potential sources of antimicrobial resistance in livestock



Fertilisers of faecal origin, irrigation and water are the most significant sources of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in plant-based food and/or aquaculture, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).


In terrestrial animal production, potential sources are feed, humans, water, air or dust, soil, wildlife, rodents, arthropods and equipment.


For the first time, EFSA experts have assessed the role of food producing environments in the emergence and spread of AMR. They identified the main sources of AMR bacteria and genes, although current data do not allow quantification of the specific contribution each of them makes to this global problem.


EFSA identified the resistant bacteria and genes of highest priority for public health that can be transmitted through the food chain and reviewed the scientific literature to describe their occurrence in those environmental sources.


Measures to limit the emergence and spread of resistance in food production environments include reducing the faecal microbial contamination of fertilisers, water and feed and the implementation of good hygiene practices.


Experts also made recommendations on priority areas for research that would help to close data gaps, thereby helping EU risk managers to implement the EU One Health Action plan against AMR.