Now more than ever, bioMérieux is taking food safety to heart.
Last October, bioMérieux Canada held its third annual Food Safety Symposium in collaboration with the University of Guelph’s Canadian Research Institute in Food Safety (CRIFS). The event—entitled Food Safety Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) in the Food Chain – It’s Hard to Resist!—brought together renowned speakers specializing in food safety with the aim of promoting a better understanding of the challenges surrounding the spread of AMR in the food chain.
AMR has become a hot topic for many institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and government agencies around the world. Whether curative or prophylactic, the use of large quantities of antibiotics in agriculture, industrial animal husbandry, and human and veterinary medicine has created an ideal breeding ground for the development of resistant bacteria. These bacteria are insensitive to the action of antimicrobials, but can transmit their resistance to bacteria that are still sensitive. The result? We resort to using the latest generations of antibiotics as yet spared by the deadly issue, while newer, naturally occurring antimicrobials are becoming less prevalent and effective.
Advances in technology are opening up unprecedented opportunities by promoting the discovery of cutting-edge synthetic molecules and treatments. But time is running out. It could take decades for a potential breakthrough to be brought to market. It is essential to establish international programs that promote the healthy use of antibiotics in the agri-food and clinical sectors. To do so, we need to understand and assess the impact of AMR on food safety and fight to increase the positive influence the industry has on public health.
At the AMR symposium, speakers presented a variety of practices and projects in government, agri-food and clinical settings, shedding new light on the issue and potential solutions while giving us a glimmer of hope.
Aline Dimitri, PhD, Executive Director and Deputy Chief Food Safety Officer at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, outlined the growing threat that AMR poses to animal and human health around the world. According to Dimitri, this complex issue requires the coordinated efforts of national and international partners. Dimitri also spoke about the steps taken by Canada, which is playing a major role on the world stage in the fight against AMR.
Dr. Rebecca Irvin, DVM, MSc, from Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), has presented the “Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance – 16 years of data from the Canadian Food Chain.”
Dr. Sylvain Fournaise, Vice-president, Food Safety and Technical Services - Olymel, talked about “Future of the Antibiotics in animal production: The crystal ball of a meat processor.”
Guy Latreille, Director Compliance and Risk Management – Operational Excellence and quality, Agropur, presented “A Global Dairy Position for a Prudent and Responsible Use of Antibiotics.”
Dr. Patrick Boerlin, Associate Professor in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph provided insights into the evolving picture of antimicrobial resistance in Enterobacteriaceae from animals in Canada. Past examples of a selection of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from food animals driven by the use of antibiotics were presented. These were followed by information on the recent evolution of resistance to antibiotics regarded and highly important such as extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESC) and gentamicin in bacteria from animals. In particular, the emergence of new ESC resistance genes and the potential for co-selection of gentamicin and ESC resistance by the use of less important antibiotics were illustrated. Finally, recent research results on transferable copper resistance genes and their effects in Salmonella and lack thereof in Escherichia coli were presented.
Joanna Merckx, PhD, MD, MSc, Director of Medical Affairs at bioMérieux Canada Inc., wrapped up the symposium by sharing her medical perspective on AMR in her talk, “One health approach: The human piece of the puzzle.”
To learn more about AMR in the agri-food industry, visit bioMérieux Canada’s website.
And be sure to stay tuned for our next newsletter, featuring an exclusive interview with Aline Dimitri.