GLOBAL – To tackle the growing concern of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is actively seeking data and information regarding alternative and advanced feed practices in animal agriculture.

The aim is to promote the responsible use of antimicrobials and address the public health threat posed by AMR.

Antibiotics have been utilized in animal feed for around seven decades, not only to treat diseases but also to enhance productivity.

However, many of these substances, classified as medically important antimicrobials by the World Health Organization (WHO), raise concerns about the development of AMR to vital drugs and the potential transfer of resistant bacteria from animals to humans through the food chain.

Mitigating AMR necessitates an overall reduction in the use of antimicrobials in animal production, particularly those employed for nontherapeutic purposes, such as antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs).

Emerging literature suggests that implementing good husbandry practices and advanced feeding techniques may effectively replace the use of AGPs in livestock production without significant economic losses.

In response to these challenges, the FAO Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Livestock has requested FAO to gather scientific evidence on alternative feeding practices that can replace medically important AGPs.

The committee also seeks to assess the effectiveness and safety of such practices and compile an inventory of viable alternatives.

Furthermore, FAO is encouraged to share successful experiences and best practices, including traditional knowledge such as the use of plant-based growth promoters, to support member countries in reducing their reliance on antibiotics.

Data on the impact of measures aimed at phasing out or banning medically important AGPs on livestock production, health, and welfare will also be collected.

Upon collecting the relevant data and information, FAO plans to organize an expert meeting at its headquarters in Rome, Italy, scheduled for July 2023.

The meeting will provide a platform to discuss and analyze the findings, paving the way for informed strategies to combat AMR in animal agriculture.

AMR is a global health concern that compromises the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs and poses significant challenges in treating bacterial infections in both humans and animals.

FAO’s initiative aligns with global efforts to promote responsible antimicrobial use and address the complex issue of AMR, safeguarding both human and animal health.

Sharing knowledge and implementing alternative feed practices can contribute to sustainable livestock production while minimizing the risk of AMR development.

The expert meeting will facilitate collaboration among experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to devise evidence-based solutions and policy recommendations to combat AMR effectively.

Individuals interested in contributing data and relevant information can do so by emailing FAO before June 10, 2023.

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