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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 the second 5-year National Action Plan (NAP) on confronting AMR 2024 to 2029 which contains outcomes and commitments that will enable progress towards the UK’s 20-year vision for AMR to be contained, controlled and mitigated. 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 evidence-based risk-management actions 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 addressing key evidence gaps through the commissioning of AMR related research and surveillance in the food chain.  This is improving our understanding of AMR through capability to measure, predict and understand how resistant microorganisms spread from animals and agriculture to humans via the food chain (Theme 1, Outcome 3 in the NAP) and enabling decisions to be based on robust surveillance, scientific research and datasets (Theme 3, Outcome 7 in the NAP).

The portfolio of work includes:

  • surveillance of AMR bacteria in food and feed
  • 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)