What you need to know about AMR (Antimicrobial resistance)

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in both humans and animals. However, bacteria can change and find ways to survive the effects of them. This is known as antimicrobial resistance.

What you need to know about AMR (antimicrobial resistance)

The facts about AMR


Image courtesy of EFSA

An antibiotic is a drug used to treat bacterial infections in both humans and animals. However, bacteria can change and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic. This has resulted in antibiotics losing their effectiveness. The more we use antibiotics and the way that we use them can increase the chance that bacteria will become resistant to them. This is known as antimicrobial resistance.

How AMR spreads

fake booze product

Faecal contamination, when the animal is slaughtered or when used as manure, could transfer AMR microbes to the environment and meat products.

fake booze price

Vegetables, fruit and shellfish can become contaminated if the water used to grow them, or which they live in, has AMR microbes.

fake booze packaging

Food may be contaminated by AMR microbes in the environment.

fake booze place

If food is handled on contaminated surfaces or without the right hygiene practises, AMR bacteria can spread from one type of food to another (cross-contamination).

How you can avoid it

  • Remember the 4Cs when handling food – clean well, cook thoroughly, chill correctly and avoid cross-contamination.
  • Handle and cook your meat - such as poultry, pork, minced beef and lamb - so that the meat is steaming hot throughout, there is no pinkness and any juices run clear.
  • Thoroughly wash and/or peel fruits and vegetables if you are eating them raw.
  • Make sure you use antibiotics only when necessary, and complete your prescribed course, so they can work effectively.

How the FSA is tackling AMR

  • We are actively funding research to find out as much as we can about AMR microbes in the food chain and help us fill in the gaps in our knowledge.
  • We are working with industry as they develop action plans to reduce the levels of AMR microbes in food.
  • Our Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food has established a sub-group on AMR to consider issues on the food chain.
  • We are also working with consumers to raise awareness of AMR and food and provide practical advice.