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Critically important antibiotics: criteria and approaches for measuring and reducing their use in food animal agriculture

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Graham



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© 2019 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of New York Academy of Sciences. Globally, increasing acquired antimicrobial resistance among pathogenic bacteria presents an urgent challenge to human and animal health. As a result, significant efforts, such as the One Health Initiative, are underway to curtail and optimize the use of critically important antimicrobials for human medicine in all applications, including food animal production. This review discusses the rationale behind multiple and competing “critically important antimicrobial” lists and their contexts as created by international, regional, and national organizations; identifies discrepancies among these lists; and describes issues surrounding risk management recommendations that have been made by regulatory organizations on the use of antibiotics in food animal production. A more harmonized approach to defining criticality in its various contexts (e.g., for human versus animal health, enteric diseases versus other systemic infections, and direct versus indirect selection of resistance) is needed in order to identify shared contextual features, aid in their translation into risk management, and identify the best ways to maintain the health of food animals, all while keeping in mind the wider risks of antimicrobial resistance, environmental impacts, and animal welfare considerations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scott HM, Acuff G, Bergeron G, Bourassa MW, Gill J, Graham DW, Kahn LH, Morley PS, Salois MJ, Simjee S, Singer RS, Smith TC, Storrs C, Wittum TE

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Year: 2019

Volume: 1441

Issue: 1

Pages: 8-16

Print publication date: 29/03/2019

Online publication date: 29/03/2019

Acceptance date: 26/02/2019

ISSN (print): 0077-8923

ISSN (electronic): 1749-6632

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/nyas.14058


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