European Union and The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations bring combined weight to bear on food waste, antimicrobial resistance.
EU Commissioner of Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva agreed to ratchet up collaboration between the 2 organisations to address food waste, food safety, and antimicrobial resistance in supply chains. In a new letter of intent signed on September 29, 2017, FAO and the EU pledged to work closely together to halve per capita food waste by 2030, a goal established under the new Sustainable Development Goals global agenda. It also commits them to intensified cooperation on tackling the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on farms and in food systems.
Globally, one-third of all food produce for human consumption - 1.3 billion tons - is lost or wasted, each year, causing massive financial losses while squandering natural resources. In Europe alone, around 88 million tons of food is wasted each year, with associated costs estimated at $143 billion, according to EU estimates. Meanwhile, the increased use - and abuse - of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare has contributed to an increase in the number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat them, like antibiotics. This makes AMR a growing threat that could lead to as many as 10 million deaths a year and over $100 million in losses to the global economy by 2050, according to some studies. In addition to public health risks, AMR has implications for food safety as well as the economic well-being of millions of farming households across the globe.