Author(s): Capita R, AlonsoCalleja C
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Abstract Antibiotic-resistant bacteria were first described in the 1940s, but whereas new antibiotics were being discovered at a steady rate, the consequences of this phenomenon were slow to be appreciated. At present, the paucity of new antimicrobials coming into the market has led to the problem of antibiotic resistance fast escalating into a global health crisis. Although the selective pressure exerted by the use of antibiotics (particularly overuse or misuse) has been deemed the major factor in the emergence of bacterial resistance to these antimicrobials, concerns about the role of the food industry have been growing in recent years and have been raised at both national and international levels. The selective pressure exerted by the use of antibiotics (primary production) and biocides (e.g., disinfectants, food and feed preservatives, or decontaminants) is the main driving force behind the selection and spread of antimicrobial resistance throughout the food chain. Genetically modified (GM) crops with antibiotic resistance marker genes, microorganisms added intentionally to the food chain (probiotic or technological) with potentially transferable antimicrobial resistance genes, and food processing technologies used at sub-lethal doses (e.g., alternative non-thermal treatments) are also issues for concern. This paper presents the main trends in antibiotic resistance and antibiotic development in recent decades, as well as their economic and health consequences, current knowledge concerning the generation, dissemination, and mechanisms of antibacterial resistance, progress to date on the possible routes for emergence of resistance throughout the food chain and the role of foods as a vehicle for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The main approaches to prevention and control of the development, selection, and spread of antibacterial resistance in the food industry are also addressed.
This article was published in Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr
and referenced in Hydrology: Current Research