A call for global reduction of antimicrobial use in food systems

The Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, which was established in November 2020 and is comprised of heads of state, government ministers, and private-sector and civil-society leaders, has urged all governments to drastically limit the number of antimicrobial drugs used in global food systems. This includes discontinuing the use of medically necessary antimicrobial medicines to stimulate growth in healthy animals, as well as utilizing antimicrobial drugs more responsibly in general.    

All around the world, antimicrobial medicines are utilized in food production. They are given to animals not just for medical objectives, but also to help healthy animals develop. Furthermore, in agriculture, antimicrobial pesticides are used to cure and prevent plant diseases. Antimicrobials used in food systems are sometimes the same or comparable to those used to treat people. Current use in people, animals, and plants is causing an alarming rise in antibiotic resistance and making diseases more difficult to cure.    

The use of antimicrobial medicines more responsibly in food systems, as well as a significant reduction in the use of antibiotics that are most important for treating illnesses in humans, animals, and plants, is a top priority call to action. Some of other significant calls for action are the following: ceasing the use of antimicrobial medicines that are vital to human treatment to boost animal development; limiting the quantity of antimicrobial medicines given to healthy animals and plants to avoid infection; eliminating/severely decreasing over-the-counter sales of antimicrobial medicines used for medical or veterinary reasons; reducing the total demand for antimicrobial medicines through enhancing infection prevention and control, hygiene, biosecurity, and immunization programs in agriculture and aquaculture; increasing availability to high-quality, low-cost antimicrobials for animal and human health.