An update discussion on the current assessment of the safety of veterinary antimicrobial drug residues in food with regard to their impact on the human intestinal microbiome

Carl E Cerniglia, Silvia A Pineiro, Susan F Kotarski
Drug Testing and Analysis 2016, 8 (5-6): 539-48
The human gastrointestinal tract ecosystem consists of complex and diverse microbial communities that have now been collectively termed the intestinal microbiome. Recent scientific breakthroughs and research endeavours have increased our understanding of the important role the intestinal microbiome plays in human health and disease. The use of antimicrobial new animal drugs in food-producing animals may result in the presence of low levels of drug residues in edible foodstuffs. There is concern that antimicrobial new animal drugs in or on animal-derived food products at residue-level concentrations could disrupt the colonization barrier and/or modify the antimicrobial resistance profile of human intestinal bacteria. Therapeutic doses of antimicrobial drugs have been shown to promote shifts in the intestinal microbiome, and these disruptions promote the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. To assess the effects of antimicrobial new animal drug residues in food on human intestinal bacteria, many national regulatory agencies and international committees follow a harmonized process, VICH GL36(R), which was issued by a trilateral organization of the European Union, the USA, and Japan called the International Cooperation on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Veterinary Medicinal Products (VICH). The guidance describes a general approach currently used by national regulatory agencies and international committees to assess the effects of antimicrobial new animal drug residues in animal-derived food on human intestinal bacteria. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of this current approach as part of the antimicrobial new animal drug approval process in participating countries, give insights on the microbiological endpoints used in this safety evaluation, and discuss the availability of new information. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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