Page 8 - Australian Pork Newspaper
P. 8

Antimicrobial resistance and trade will be linked
SOONER or later, Aus- tralia will be asked about its surveillance for an- timicrobial resistance at the trade negotiating table.
Better that we are ready.
Pork producers world- wide and their vets have become accustomed to us- ing antimicrobial drugs to control and treat disease.
Now they must adjust not only to a diminishing array of medicines and attack from various sec- tors for the perceived risk to human AMR risks but also to new trade require- ments in relation to AMR.
Global policymakers in this space are grappling with highly sensitive trade interests.
On one side of the nego- tiating table are the food- importing countries.
The European Union, Japan, Singapore, China, Korea and now the UK are among the leaders of this group.
On the other side are the food-exporting countries: the US, Canada, Austral- ia, Brazil and New Zea- land among others.
All these countries have signed up to the World Health Organization AMR goals, but they have competing interests.
The exporting countries contest some of the AMR ‘evidence’.
Other countries just can- not move at the same pace. Even now, negotiators in
the Australian – EU free trade agreement are work- ing through antimicrobial stewardship issues.
Codex, the global ‘Food Code’, is also investing in AMR matters.
Codex is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice that governments may use to ensure food safety, quality and fair trade.
When the standards are followed, consumers can trust the safety and qual-
ity of the products they buy, and importers can trust that the food they ordered will meet their specifications.
Global trade of food products in real terms has doubled over the past 20 years.
Developing countries have played a very impor- tant role in this expansion as exports of agricultural products from low-income countries have grown by over 150 percent since 2002.
Food products (fruits, nuts, coffee and tea) ac- count for almost 40 per- cent of the total exports from low-income coun- tries.
This suggests a high de- pendency on the export of just a few agricultural commodities.
It increases the risk of economic damage in cases of product rejection from poor countries at the borders of importing countries.
At the same time, trade concerns are often raised by World Trade Organi- zation members with re- gard either to rejections/ detentions at the borders or legislation that creates obstacles to trade.
Food producers are al-
ready under pressure as consumers learn about the use of antimicrobials in food production and more so when the full impact of AMR on micro-organ- isms in the food chain and on micro-organisms that naturally live in people is better understood.
Governments will be ex- pected to respond.
The Codex Committee on Food Hygiene drafts the basic provisions on food hygiene applicable to all food and now they are addressing microbiologi- cal hazards.
A taskforce has been as- sembled and it is revising Codex to contain food- borne AMR as well as developing the guidelines on surveillance of AMR.
It involves human and animal health and the en- vironment.
As things stand, there is no standardised data available on the global use of antimicrobials in livestock and only 42 countries have a system to collect this data.
It’s a long-term project but it will happen.
Better for Australia to get it right early and se- cure the high-value mar- kets.
Ross Cutler
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Food for thought:
teaching our farmers
of tomorrow
THE Australian Gov- ernment is working to ensure our farming future by investing $5 million to bring kids and farms closer to- gether.
Minister for Agricul- ture Bridget McKenzie said kids were increas- ingly removed from di- rectly experiencing life on the land, which was a barrier to choosing agriculture as a career and allowed myths to perpetuate.
“Australian agricul- ture has a bright and prosperous future, so we need to place a high value on edu- cating young people about where – and how – their food and fibre is produced,” Minister McKenzie said.
“That’s why we are delivering on an elec- tion commitment and investing up to $5 mil- lion towards the Kids To Farms program, which is all about bringing farms and kids closer together.
“I don’t want kids to think cotton is made from animals or that yogurt grows on trees.
“We need to think now about the farm- ers of tomorrow and how important it is for kids to have a greater understanding of the mighty contribution agriculture makes to Australia’s way of life, regional communities and the economy.
“This new program will encourage young
people to better under- stand and get excited about agriculture, in- cluding the many ca- reer opportunities it offers.
“Our future work- force will operate drones, use satellite technology and deploy precision agriculture techniques.
“We need more op- portunities for young people to engage di- rectly with agriculture, to see their food and fi- bre growing, and hear first-hand about our increasingly innova- tive industry that sus- tains our land as well as feeding and clothing the world.”
State Farming Or- ganisations are the eligible applicants for grants to deliver Kids To Farms, which is part of the Australian Government’s $10 mil- lion Educating Kids About Agriculture election commitment.
Consortia applica- tions are welcome and interested parties should contact their State Farming Organi- sation to express their interest in partnering on projects.
Grant applications opened on January 30, 2020 and close Febru- ary 26, 2020.
Details about the program and how to apply are available on the Community Grants Hub at communi
Page 8 – Australian Pork Newspaper, February 2020

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