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Antimicrobial resistance

How can the FSA improve the evidence base concerning Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and food? 

Addressing the public health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a national strategic priority for the UK and has led to the UK Government publishing both a 20-year vision of AMR, and a 5-year (2019 to 2024) AMR National Action Plan (NAP) which sets out actions to slow the development and spread of AMR with a focus on antimicrobials. The NAP takes a ‘One-Health’ approach which includes people, animals, agriculture, food safety and the environment. Better food safety and production can help limit the contamination of foodstuffs and spread of resistance. Achieving it requires strong risk-management and a solid understanding of how AMR travels through the food chain.

This Area of Research Interest (ARI) aims to enable the FSA to continue to contribute to the delivery of the AMR NAP by strengthening the evidence base on the role of food and how it is processed impacts the transmission of AMR. This includes more surveillance and research on the diversity and burden of AMR genes in the UK diet and their relevance to the gut resistome and risk assessments for foodborne AMR.

The portfolio of work includes:

  • surveillance of AMR bacteria in food
  • research to understand how and to what extent AMR is transmitted through the food chain and how can this be mitigated
  • social science research to track the perceptions and understanding of food handlers and consumers about bacteria and what can be done to protect people through food hygiene at home


Research projects related to the programme

Transmission of AMR bacteria during the processing of chicken meat

This study is a laboratory-based study which will track the AMR contamination found on chicken during processing. This study will identify the critical points during meat processing where more stringent interventions (enhanced cleaning and disinfectants) may be required to reduce the AMR contamination on meats and the risk to consumers.

AMR Consumer Research Report

A quantitative research study, utilising a representative UK sample to understand awareness of, and attitudes towards, antimicrobial resistance (AMR)