Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 72

GENERAL INTEREST PAPER

The Role of the European Food Safety
Authority (EFSA) in the Fight against
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
Pietro Stella,1* Pierre-Alexandre Beloeil,1 Beatriz Guerra,1 Marta Hugas1 and Ernesto Liebana1
1

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Unit on Biological Hazards and Contaminants (BIOCONTAM), Parma, Italy

SUMMARY
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is an
agency funded by the European Union that acts as a source
of scientific advice and communication on risks associated
with the food chain. EFSA is actively involved in many
activities in the area of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
It provides scientific advice used to support the European
legislator and Member States in making effective and timely
risk management decisions in the fight against AMR for
example, in reducing the need to use antimicrobials in
food-producing animals or in managing emerging threats
such as resistance of microorganisms to beta-lactams,
carbapenems and colistin. EFSA provides advice on how
to monitor AMR in food-producing animals and food, and
gathers and analyzes data collected at the national level in
Europe. Finally, it actively communicates the risks linked to
antimicrobial resistance. This paper provides an overview of
the activities of EFSA in the area of AMR.
OVERVIEW
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was set up in
January 2002, following a series of food crises in the late 1990s
(bovine spongiform encephalopathy, dioxin contamination, foot
and mouth disease, etc.), as part of a comprehensive program to
improve European Union (EU) food safety systems, to ensure
a high level of consumer protection and to restore and maintain
trust in the EU food supply. As risk assessor, EFSA produces
scientific opinions and advice to provide a sound foundation
for European policies and legislation in the food and feed safety
sector and to support the European Commission, European
Parliament and EU Member States in taking effective and timely
risk management decisions. EFSA is also responsible for related
risk communication.
Combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a priority
for the EU and its Member States. The EU has developed
a series of EU-wide policy and legislative initiatives
for the control or prevention of AMR in the field of
human medicine, in the veterinary and food safety area
and in relation to monitoring, research, prevention and
international cooperation. AMR is among the topics of
competence of EFSA. Antimicrobials are commonly used
in human and veterinary medicine to treat a wide variety

72

Food Protection Trends January/February

of infectious diseases. The use of antimicrobials in both
humans and animals, especially when overused or misused,
inevitably exerts selection pressure towards antimicrobialresistant bacteria and has been linked to the emergence
and spread of AMR, rendering treatments ineffective and
ultimately posing a serious risk to both public health and
animal health. In 2009, the European Centre for Disease
Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European
Medicines Agency (EMA) estimated that each year
about 25,000 patients die in the EU from an infection
caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria (7). The European
Commission published on 2011 its first Action Plan against
the rising threats from AMR (1), identifying seven areas
of priority for action against AMR, and launched, in 2017,
its second AMR Action Plan (4). EFSA is one of the key
players identified in the Action Plan and is actively involved
in many activities in the area of AMR, from the monitoring
of AMR in bacteria from food-producing animals and food
to the provision of scientific advice and risk assessment,
often in close collaboration with other EU agencies, such
as ECDC and EMA. The aim of this paper is to provide an
overview of the activities of EFSA in the area of AMR, the
latest activities carried out and the ones in the pipeline.
MONITORING OF ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE
AMR monitoring in food-producing animals and food
Antimicrobial resistant bacteria can spread to humans
through many different routes. These include transmission
from animals to humans through direct contact, but also
through food or other routes such as water or environmental contamination with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria of
animal origin. Some zoonotic bacteria can be resistant to
antimicrobials and potentially lead to infections in humans. Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., some strains
of Escherichia coli, and occasionally methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are examples of zoonotic
bacteria that can infect people by the foodborne route.
Other commensal bacteria that can live both in animals
and humans, such as E. coli and Enterococcus spp., can also
carry AMR genes that can be transferred between bacterial
species, including organisms capable of causing disease in
both humans and animals. Therefore, monitoring of AMR


http://www.foodprotection.org/files/food-protection-trends/jan-feb-18-stella.pdf

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018

Assessing the Usage of Food Thermometers at American University Football Tailgates
An Assessment of Potential Heavy Metal Contaminants in Bivalve Shellfish from Aquaculture Zones along the Coast of New South Wales, Australia
Mental Models of Pasteurized and Unpasteurized Milk Product Consumption in the United States
Sanitary Carcass Dressing and Food Safety Practices in South Central U.S. Small and Very Small Establishments Manufacturing Fresh and Not-Ready-to-Eat Pork Products
Beyond the Bio - Joe Frank
PDG Highlight The Dairy Safety & Quality Professional Development Group
General Interest Paper The Role of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the Fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
Industry Products
Coming Events
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Cover1
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Cover2
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 1
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 3
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 4
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 5
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 7
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Assessing the Usage of Food Thermometers at American University Football Tailgates
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 10
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 15
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 16
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 17
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - An Assessment of Potential Heavy Metal Contaminants in Bivalve Shellfish from Aquaculture Zones along the Coast of New South Wales, Australia
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 19
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 20
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 21
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 22
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 23
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 24
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 25
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 26
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Mental Models of Pasteurized and Unpasteurized Milk Product Consumption in the United States
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 28
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 29
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 30
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 31
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 32
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 33
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Sanitary Carcass Dressing and Food Safety Practices in South Central U.S. Small and Very Small Establishments Manufacturing Fresh and Not-Ready-to-Eat Pork Products
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 53
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 54
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 55
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 56
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 57
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 64
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 65
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 66
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 67
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Beyond the Bio - Joe Frank
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 69
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 70
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - PDG Highlight The Dairy Safety & Quality Professional Development Group
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - General Interest Paper The Role of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the Fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 73
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 74
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 75
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 76
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 77
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 79
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 80
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 81
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Industry Products
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 83
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 84
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 85
Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - 86
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Coming Events
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Food Protection Trends - January/February 2018 - Cover4
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