Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - FAO / WHO / WTO / Codex - 2016

Codex News Item, 14 September 2016

ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE - FAO to support countries in tackling spread of AMR

Global leaders will meet at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next Friday - 21 September 2016 to debate the emerging challenge posed by medicine-resistant "superbugs". Only on three other occasions (HIV, noncommunicable diseases and Ebola) has the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to discuss such matters, clearly indicating the global threat that AMR represents.

FAO Action Plan

FAO has pledged to help countries develop strategies for tackling the spread of antimicrobial resistance in their food supply chains.

According to FAO's Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, published today: "Antimicrobial medicines play a critical role in the treatment of diseases of farm animals and plants. Their use is essential to food security, to our well-being, and to animal welfare. However, the misuse of these drugs, associated with the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant micro-organisms, places everyone at great risk."

The four key areas of the action plan are:

Codex Task Force

Codex already has standards in place to assist national food safety control authorities in tackling antomicrobial resistance in foods. These standards deal with veterinary drugs and their residues, food hygiene and animal feed.

The 2016 Codex Alimentarius Commission acknowledged that AMR is a serious public health threat requiring urgent attention by Codex, and that a coordinated approach was needed at the international and national level to combat AMR.

The Commission has established an Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance to be hosted by the Republic of Korea which will develop a structured and long term strategy to address this global issue.

A working group chaired by the UK will be meeting in London (29 September - 2 December) to revise the project documents that will set the course for "new work" on AMR (the start of the standard devleopment process in Codex). The London meeting will also define how Codex will request scientific advice from the parent bodies FAO and WHO and in collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health.

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