lunes, 6 de octubre de 2008

Regulator urges action on foodborne pathogen resistance

The application of good HACCP principles can help to prevent food products being contaminated accidentally by resistant bacteria.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has adopted a redrafted opinion that maintains the growing use of antimicrobial agents in food could be damaging human resistance to bacteria. A panel on biological hazards (BIOHAZ) claims that more needs to be done to ensure that the food we eat does not become a ‘carrier’ for antimicrobial-resistant agents which could leave the body open to health risks. The panel sought submissions from the scientific community, food processors and food sector associations following publication of its draft opinion on foodborne antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in April and it said the subsequent amendments enhance clarity and scientific value.
Food chain Alun Jones, senior spokesman for EFSA, told that there is a need to keep a close eye on this issue to ensure all potential entry points into the food chain for such resistant bacteria are controlled. "This is a job not only for EFSA but for all stakeholders - including the European Commission and national food safety authorities who are the risk managers in this case," said Jones.
Control methods The Biohaz panel said that controls operated at the pre-harvest phase and those aimed at limiting antimicrobial usage are potentially the most effective and as such are capable of playing a major role in reducing the occurrence of AMR bacteria in food. Poor hygiene, the report suggests, is another probable means of transfer. It said that the application of good HACCP principles can help to prevent food products being contaminated accidentally by resistant bacteria. EFSA's report highlights the cases of Salmonella and Campylobacter in particular, since these are mostly spread through food.
Resistance Concern about increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance has been growing for several years. A study from the UK Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) published last year found that up to 29 per cent of the Campylobacter jejuni pathogen are now resistant to a commonly used antimicrobial. The survey found that cephalosporin resistance in E. coli from bacteraemia is increasing. Over half of the E. coli bacteraemia isolates were resistant to ampicillin or amoxicillin, and up to 9 to 19 per cent were resistant to ciprofloxacin. However, all human and animal isolates of L. monocytogenes were found to be susceptible to penicillin or ampicillin. Antimicrobial resistance continues to be extremely rare in L.monocytogenes, the survey found.
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

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