The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) recently published a new modeling framework to quantify consumers’ risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) exposure from food products. The framework was developed using chicken and lettuce value chains as case studies.
Pathogens that possess AMR genes were traced from farm-to-fork across four distinct modules in the chicken and lettuce value chains: production, processing, post-processing, and home preparation. The value chains were investigated by means of a literature review and stakeholder elicitation workshop with UK poultry and lettuce industry representatives. The objectives of the project were to:
- Identify the critical risk pathways for exposure to antimicrobial-resistant genes (ARGs) through the food production chains of chicken meat and lettuce
- Develop a modular, off-the-shelf quantitative risk assessment model for exposure to ARG via chicken meat
- Develop a modular, off-the-shelf quantitative risk assessment model for exposure to ARG via lettuce
- Develop a user-friendly interface for the implementation of quantitative risk assessment models
- Develop training and support materials for FSA staff, including options for customization of models to other food products.
The modeling framework was validated through internal and external peer reviews. One of the major strengths of the framework is its flexibility to test new microorganisms and genes, as well as its adaptability to different attributes and variables of the value chain. However, poor data availability for some estimated variables in each case study was noted as a limitation.