Analysis outlines levels of AMR in Campylobacter found in UK chicken

Analysis outlines levels of AMR in Campylobacter found in UK chicken

The Food Standards Agency has published a new report analysing 20 years of data on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Campylobacter from retail chicken in the UK.

The study aimed to assess any trends over a 20-year period and FSA say it provides a baseline against which it can evaluate future, hoped-for reductions in AMR.

AMR is when bacteria adapt to become resistant to the killing effects of antimicrobials, such as antibiotics. This resistance subsequently makes such infections in humans more difficult to treat using drugs.  AMR can develop in any bacteria, including Campylobacter which is the main cause of bacterial food poisoning in the developed world. It is estimated that there are in excess of half a million cases annually in the UK.

The FSA’s Science lead in Microbiological Risk Assessment, Dr Paul Cook, said: “While the data shows a marked increase in AMR in Campylobacter to certain antimicrobials, it is encouraging that there has been no significant increase in resistance since 2014.

“Any increase of AMR in Campylobacter is a concern and continued surveillance is essential. We will continue to carry out AMR surveillance in chicken and other meats and to monitor any long-term trends in resistance, while promoting good food hygiene practice to reduce exposure to AMR bacteria and protect consumer safety.”

Since its formation in 2000, FSA has commissioned several UK-wide retail surveys and sampling studies that involved testing for Campylobacter in chicken. A significant proportion of the Campylobacter isolates detected were further tested to assess resistance to a range of antimicrobials.

There are effective ways to reduce exposure to AMR bacteria. This includes cleaning surfaces properly, cooking food thoroughly, chilling food at the correct temperature and handling food hygienically so it doesn’t cross contaminate other foods or surfaces.

The research report is available on the FSA website research pages.

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