Abstract: Antimicrobial resistant zoonotic pathogens present on food constitute a direct risk to public health. Antimicrobial resistance genes in commensal or pathogenic strains form an indirect risk to public health, as they increase the gene pool from which pathogenic bacteria can pick up resistance traits. Food can be contaminated with antimicrobial resistant bacteria and/or antimicrobial resistance genes in several ways. A first way is the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria on food selected by the use of antibiotics during agricultural production. A second route is the possible presence of resistance genes in bacteria that are intentionally added during the processing of food (starter cultures, probiotics, bioconserving microorganisms and bacteriophages). A last way is through cross-contamination with antimicrobial resistant bacteria during food processing. Raw food products can be consumed without having undergone prior processing or preservation and therefore hold a substantial risk for transfer of antimicrobial resistance to humans, as the eventually present resistant bacteria are not killed. As a consequence, transfer of antimicrobial resistance genes between bacteria after ingestion by humans may occur. Under minimal processing or preservation treatment conditions, sublethally damaged or stressed cells can be maintained in the food, inducing antimicrobial resistance build-up and enhancing the risk of resistance transfer. Food processes that kill bacteria in food products, decrease the risk of transmission of antimicrobial resistance.
Keywords: antimicrobial resistant bacteria; antimicrobial resistance genes; horizontal gene transfer; food safety
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Verraes, C.; Van Boxstael, S.; Van Meervenne, E.; Van Coillie, E.; Butaye, P.; Catry, B.; de Schaetzen, M.-A.; Van Huffel, X.; Imberechts, H.; Dierick, K.; Daube, G.; Saegerman, C.; De Block, J.; Dewulf, J.; Herman, L. Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain: A Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 2643-2669.
Verraes C, Van Boxstael S, Van Meervenne E, Van Coillie E, Butaye P, Catry B, de Schaetzen M-A, Van Huffel X, Imberechts H, Dierick K, Daube G, Saegerman C, De Block J, Dewulf J, Herman L. Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain: A Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(7):2643-2669.
Verraes, Claire; Van Boxstael, Sigrid; Van Meervenne, Eva; Van Coillie, Els; Butaye, Patrick; Catry, Boudewijn; de Schaetzen, Marie-Athénaïs; Van Huffel, Xavier; Imberechts, Hein; Dierick, Katelijne; Daube, Georges; Saegerman, Claude; De Block, Jan; Dewulf, Jeroen; Herman, Lieve. 2013. "Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain: A Review." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 7: 2643-2669.