FSA survey finds decline in levels of AMR bacteria in chicken

FSA survey finds decline in levels of AMR bacteria in chicken

A new survey from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that levels of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) E. coli and AMR campylobacter fresh chicken on sale in the UK had declined in comparison to previous years.

Raw whole chickens

The report suggests that the tighter control on antimicrobial usage in industry might be having a positive impact, although it says further work is required to explore this.

The proportion of AMR campylobacter isolates and multi-drug resistance found were similar to those in Year 3 (August 2016 to July 2017).

The FSA’s science lead in microbiological risk assessment, Paul Cook, said: “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a national strategic priority for government and the FSA is playing its part by continuing to fill the evidence gap on the role that food plays.

“While there is evidence that AMR bacteria are present on chicken sold in the UK, it is encouraging to see the levels holding steady and even reducing. The risk of getting AMR-related infections through eating or preparing contaminated meat remains very low as long as you follow good hygiene and cooking practices.”

British Poultry Council chief executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “The British Poultry Council welcomes the fresh data released as part of Public Health England’s Year 4 survey on AMR campylobacter in UK retail chicken. While certain questions around resistance and how it enters the poultry production chain remain unanswered, the British poultry meat sector stands committed towards delivering high standards from farm to fork and helping tackle antimicrobial resistance.

We know that one way to eliminate resistant campylobacter from birds is to eliminate campylobacter. Although the resistance proportion has stayed fairly static in the last few years, the number of birds with resistant campylobacter has reduced. We’ll continue to work towards eliminating campylobacter contamination by embedding effective and long-term solutions across our supply chain. Through more coordinated action between farmers, veterinarians, producers as well as policymakers at local, regional, national and global level, we’ll continue preserving the efficacy of our antibiotics and better tackle AMR challenges.”

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