Article by: Hari Yellina
Antibiotic resistance was identified in startling high levels in specimens of salmon and beef acquired from Australian supermarkets, according to a new study. The study, which was exclusively shared with 7.30, was commissioned by animal rights non-profit World Animal Protection and carried out by Monash University experts in Melbourne. The researchers investigated how well drugs worked against germs in salmon and beef, as well as looking for antibiotic-resistant genes in the microbes. These genes can travel between bacteria and, through eating, from bacteria to humans. “Alternatively, you may have these genes flowing into wastewater, for example, and subsequently contaminating the environment,” Monash University Associate Professor Chris Greening explained.
A total of 55% of the beef samples and 39% of the salmon samples tested positive for antibiotic resistance to a variety of routinely used antibiotics. “We can’t say for sure how the antimicrobial resistance in these meats developed.” “What’s apparent is that, given the high levels of antimicrobial resistance, they’re almost certainly exposed to antibiotics at some point, but we can’t say when or why.” Cooking the meat may help to lessen the danger of transmission. Mr Greening, on the other hand, believes that not enough is being done to monitor antibiotic resistance in the food supply.
“What Australia now requires is an integrated monitoring system that tracks both antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance levels,” he said. Australia’s Food Standards As part of a new study looking at antibiotic resistance in Australian food, New Zealand announced that it will begin monitoring antibiotic resistance in June 2022. It stated that it was analysing Monash University’s research. All three supermarkets, Coles, Woolworths, and Aldi, declined to be interviewed. Woolworths stated in a statement that it takes food safety seriously and depends on “professional assistance from national authorities who set science-based standards for the livestock industry and animal medicine.”
The conclusions of the study “are not indicative of current antimicrobial usage procedures” in Australia’s cattle or salmon industries, according to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Antibiotic resistance is becoming a global issue that may make treating infections much more difficult. “Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria create compounds that render antibiotics ineffective, and this is a serious concern,” said Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at the Canberra Hospital. “And, in terms of future forecasts, they’re talking about millions of additional people dying each year because antibiotics don’t work.”
“It simply goes to illustrate why we have to be really cautious about the amount of antibiotics we allow to be used, the sorts of antibiotics we allow to be used, and how we allow it to spread.” “It’s really difficult to police this if we don’t have transparency of what’s going on with real-time or near real-time data.” The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is in charge of authorising antibiotics, while state and territory authorities are in charge of monitoring how much is used. A Department of Agriculture spokeswoman also told 7.30 that the department is in the early stages of establishing “a nationally coordinated One Health Surveillance System that will collect and report on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use” across sectors such as agriculture.