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Food Safety Focus (208th Issue, November 2023) – Article 3

Minimising Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) threatens effective infection prevention and treatment as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial agents like antibiotics. Contamination by antimicrobial pharmaceuticals to the ecosystem can lead to the emergence of AMR bacteria. AMR bacteria can then transfer to food animals and produces and then to humans along the food chain. AMR bacteria may contaminate meat during the slaughtering process, and spread to vegetables and fruits irrigated with contaminated water. Poor personal hygienie of food handers and improper food handling can also spread AMR bacteria. Local surveillance findings revealed that some food samples contained AMR bacteria.

From the aspect of food safety, following the Five Keys to Food Safety can reduce the risk of contracting AMR microorganisms and foodborne illnesses. This includes cooking food thoroughly, maintaining good personal and environmental hygiene and avoiding cross-contamination of cooked or ready-to-eat food by raw food. Susceptible populations like infants and young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immunity should avoid consuming raw and undercooked food.