WHO report on call for significant reduction in the use of antimicrobial drugs in global food systems

31 August 2021

Article: 55/3506

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported on a call-to-action from the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, which urges all countries to significantly reduce the levels of antimicrobial drugs used in global food systems. The group, including heads of state, government ministers, and leaders from the private sector and civil society, was established in November 2020 with the aim of accelerating global political momentum, leadership, and action on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

A priority call-to-action of the group is for antimicrobial drugs to be used more responsibly in food systems, and a marked reduction in the use of drugs that are of greatest importance in treating diseases in humans, animals and plants.

There are several other key calls-to-action:

  • Ending the use of antimicrobial drugs to promote growth in animals that are of critical importance to human medicine.
  • Limiting the amount of antimicrobial drugs administered to prevent infection in healthy animals and plants, and ensuring that all use is performed with regulatory oversight.
  • Eliminating or significantly reducing over-the-counter sales of antimicrobial drugs that are important for medical or veterinary purposes.
  • Reducing the overall need for antimicrobial drugs by improving infection prevention and control, hygiene, biosecurity and vaccination programmes in agriculture and aquaculture.
  • Ensuring access to quality and affordable antimicrobials for animal and human health, and promoting innovation of evidence-based and sustainable alternatives to antimicrobials in food systems.

Source: WHO, 24 August 2021