Contact: Erik Ruiz
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a significant threat to global public health. Whilst AMR is a natural process, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is dangerously accelerating its development. It is particularly true in the food production sector where antimicrobials are still widely overused to sustain intensive production practices.
A good example of overuse in food production is colistin - a last-resort antibiotic used to treat human bacterial infections for which mortality can be high. Whilst it features on the WHO’s list of Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials, and scientific evidence has revealed the link between resistance to colistin in human health and its use in animal farming, colistin is still allowed in the EU food production sector.
In virtue of its healing mandate, the healthcare sector is uniquely positioned to leverage its moral authority and purchasing power to advocate for restrictions on the use of antimicrobials in food production and support sustainable food policies and food producers who use antimicrobials responsibly.
The goal of the HealthForFood project is to reduce the use of antimicrobials in food production in the EU. The project will contribute to this objective through two sets of activities:
Mobilising healthcare professionals in advocacy activities to ban colistin in the EU
We will develop an awareness-raising campaign aimed at European healthcare professionals about antimicrobials used in food production and their effect on the development of AMR, targeting in particular the antibiotic colistin. For this campaign, we will develop communication materials on AMR, including a factsheet and an animated video, as well as give visibility to the issue of AMR through a press campaign.
Finally, we will encourage healthcare professionals to sign a petition demanding the preservation of colistin for human health through an EU ban on colistin in food production and meat import in the new regulation on Veterinary Medicinal Products, which comes into force in January 2022.
Increasing demand from the European healthcare sector for food produced with responsible antimicrobial use
In order to increase demand for food produced with responsible antimicrobial use practices, we will establish a working group of healthcare procurers as part of our Healthcare Market Transformation Network to exchange best practices and develop a set of standard procurement criteria on antimicrobial use in food served in European healthcare facilities based on the EU’s Green Public Procurement criteria.
- The European Commission must not hold back in the fight against AMR (16/05/2022)
- Sustainable procurement criteria | Responsible antimicrobial use in products of animal origin (04/2022)
- Press release | By not preserving colistin, the EMA’s advice undermines efforts to combat AMR (14/03/2022)
- Press release | Health professionals urge the European Commission to safeguard life-saving medicine colistin (15/02/2022)
- Factsheet | Reducing antimicrobial resistance in food production (20/01/2022)
- Infographic | Safeguarding colistin: A crucial antimicrobial for human health (19/11/2021)
- Video | Safeguarding colistin - A vital antimicrobial for human health (08/11/2021)
- #SafeguardColistin petition (18/10/2021)