Overview of Evidence of Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain

Bennani, H and Mateus, A L P and Mays, N and Eastmure, E and Staerk, K D C and Haesler, B (2020) Overview of Evidence of Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain. Antibiotics, 9 (2). p. 49.

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health problem. Bacteria carrying resistance genes can be transmitted between humans, animals and the environment. There are concerns that the widespread use of antimicrobials in the food chain constitutes an important source of AMR in humans, but the extent of this transmission is not well understood. The aim of this review is to examine published evidence on the links between antimicrobial use (AMU) in the food chain and AMR in people and animals. The evidence showed a link between AMU in animals and the occurrence of resistance in these animals. However, evidence of the benefits of a reduction in AMU in animals on the prevalence of resistant bacteria in humans is scarce. The presence of resistant bacteria is documented in the human food supply chain, which presents a potential exposure route and risk to public health. Microbial genome sequencing has enabled the establishment of some links between the presence of resistant bacteria in humans and animals but, for some antimicrobials, no link could be established. Research and monitoring of AMU and AMR in an integrated manner is essential for a better understanding of the biology and the dynamics of antimicrobial resistance.

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