Antimicrobial-Resistance Bacteria in Food Products

Malik A. Hussain*

Antimicrobial-Resistance Bacteria in Food Products.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the emerging issues that can seriously impact human health directly and food supply indirectly. Antimicrobial agents are commonly used in food production environments to control animal diseases. Repeated exposure to different concentrations of antimicrobial agents may result in the foodborne bacteria to become resistant through specific genetic resistance mechanisms or the selective pressure of antimicrobials. Antimicrobial-resistant foodborne pathogens are dangerous in many ways i.e., infection with a resistant microorganism may have prolonged illness due to limited treatment options or have acquired more virulent characteristics. AMR among some foodborne pathogens has been increasing during 15 to 25 years.

Foods contamination with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria may occur at primary production stage or at other stages in the supply chain. The antimicrobial-resistant bacteria can be passed to food products through several routes. Animal origin foods may have the highest risk of carrying antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Contamination of such foods is more likely because of the animals that have received antimicrobial treatments. Animal products such as meat, poultry and eggs could have AMR microbes transferred into them during slaughtering process due to faecal contamination. It is also to remember that antimicrobial-resistant bacteria can spread to other animals in a herd/flock.

Water can serve a source of AMR microbes in certain food products. For example, vegetables and fruits can become contaminated with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria if the irrigation water has AMR microbes. Moreover, washing of fresh produce using such water can also pass resistant microorganisms.

Adv Food Technol Nutr Sci Open J. 2016; 2(2): e1-e2. doi: 10.17140/AFTNSOJ-2-e008