Estimated global antimicrobial consumption in the livestock sector currently runs to over 60,000 tonnes per year
Estimated global antimicrobial consumption in the livestock sector currently runs to over 60,000 tonnes per year.
Photo: © FAO/Believe Nyakudjara

26.09.2016

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An FAO Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance aims to help countries equip their agricultural sectors to respond to the growing threat and reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance on farms and in food.

The greater use – and abuse – of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare has contributed to an increase in the number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to medicines traditionally used to treat them, like antibiotics.

To tackle this challenge, an Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in September 2016.

With much attention justifiably focused on exposure to "antimicrobial resistance" (AMR) pathogens in hospitals and similar settings, FAO is also stressing that the presence of AMR micro-organisms in farming systems represents another vector – the food we eat.

And in addition to public health risks, AMR has implications for both food safety and food security and the economic well-being of millions of farming households across the globe.

FAO's plan highlights four key areas for action in the food and agriculture sphere:

  • Improving awareness of AMR issues among farmers and producers, veterinary professionals and authorities, policymakers and food consumers.
  • Building national capacities for surveillance and monitoring of AMR and antimicrobial use (AMU) in food and agriculture.
  • Strengthening governance related to AMU and AMR in food and agriculture.
  • Promoting good practices in food and agricultural systems and the prudent use of antimicrobials.

FAO is aiming to help governments put in place national strategies for tackling AMR and AMU in their food and agricultural sectors by mid-2017.

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