What is antimicrobial resistance? How is it related to food safety?

Uploaded by EFSAchannel on 17.07.2012

My name is Marta, I am a scientist in EFSA
working in the area of biological hazard.
That is the area of food pathogens that can cause diseases in humans.
Today, I am here to explain what antimicrobial resistance is
and how it is linked to food safety.
Antimicrobials such as antibiotics are commonly used in human,
but also in veterinary medicine, to treat a wide variety of infectious diseases.
However, some microorganisms causing disease have developed resistance to antimicrobials.
If a microorganism is resistant to a certain antibiotic, the treatment becomes ineffective.
Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are an increasing health threat,
both in the European Union and globally.
The over-use or misuse of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine
has been linked to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.
Following the treatment of animals with antimicrobials,
the bacteria that live in their gastrointestinal tract can become
resistant to a given antimicrobial and it can then contaminate
the food, but also the environment.
Food can be a vehicle then in transmitting the resistant bacteria,
because zoonotic bacteria live in their gastrointestinal tract.
So then it can also go from the animals, through food, back to humans.
To combat antimicrobial resistance, actions in many areas are needed.
As part of this, it is important to assess the factors which may lead to the development
of resistance and the spread of resistant bacteria in food and in animals.
It is important to keep the treatment of animals, and also humans,
with antimicrobials for when this is really needed,
as antimicrobials are very important therapeutic tools which need to be protected.
In the European Union, decision-makers and scientists are working together
to fight antimicrobial resistance and to protect citizens
based on a dedicated strategy for combating these threats.
The European Union is also active in international
cooperation to combat antimicrobial resistance globally.
In addition to the measures taken at the EU level by the regulators,
you can also contribute to minimising the risk of antimicrobial resistance
by following good hygienic practices in the kitchen and the household –
such as washing hands thoroughly before preparing food in the kitchen.