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Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain: A Review

Directorate Control Policy, Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), Kruidtuinlaan 55, Brussels 1000, Belgium
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, Ghent 9000, Belgium
Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research, Brusselsesteenweg 370, Melle 9090, Belgium
CODA-CERVA, Veterinary and Agrochemical Research centre, Groeselenberg 99, Brussels 1180, Belgium
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke 9820, Belgium
Scientific Institute of Public Health, Juliette Wytsmanstraat 14, Brussels 1050, Belgium
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Boulevard de Colonster 20, Liège 4000, Belgium
Scientific Committee of the FASFC, Kruidtuinlaan 55, Brussels 1000, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(7), 2643-2669;
Received: 24 April 2013 / Revised: 14 June 2013 / Accepted: 17 June 2013 / Published: 28 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Resistance Prevention and Control)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: antimicrobial resistant bacteria; antimicrobial resistance genes; horizontal gene transfer; food safety antimicrobial resistant bacteria; antimicrobial resistance genes; horizontal gene transfer; food safety
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MDPI and ACS Style

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.

AMA Style

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.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Verraes, Claire, Sigrid Van Boxstael, Eva Van Meervenne, Els Van Coillie, Patrick Butaye, Boudewijn Catry, Marie-Athénaïs De Schaetzen, Xavier Van Huffel, Hein Imberechts, Katelijne Dierick, Georges Daube, Claude Saegerman, Jan De Block, Jeroen Dewulf, and Lieve Herman. 2013. "Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain: A Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 10, no. 7: 2643-2669.

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