International frontrunner in the fight against resistance

The Danish experience in reducing antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance is often highlighted as the good example around the world. Denmark was the first country in the world where antimicrobial growth promoters were banned on a scientific basis. Denmark was also the first country to establish a national farm-to-fork surveillance of both the use of antimicrobials in people and animals and the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in animals, people and foods. The National Food Institute has been involved from the start and has since 1995 carried out research and participated in surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance.

Read more the fight against antimicrobial resistance in the food chain in Denmark:

A brochure from the National Food Institute and Statens Serum Institut (the Danish national institute of public health) explains how the surveillance system works and uses a number of graphs to show how the occurrence of a number of resistant bacteria has developed as a consequence of the Danish effort: Data for action (pdf).

A scientific article in the journal Food Control describes how the strategy has been develop and how other countries can use the Danish methods to combat antimicrobial resistance: Evidence-based policy for controlling antimicrobial resistance in the food chain in Denmark.

A scientific article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives highlights the Danish way to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance: Reduced Antibiotic Use in Livestock: How Denmark Tackled Resistance.

In a theme issue of Philosophical Transactions B of the Royal Society about antimicrobial resistance professor Frank Møller Aarestrup from the National Food Institute presents an updated overview of the systematic and scientific strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance in food in Denmark – and how it is possible to considerably reduce antimicrobial consumption with compromising neither animal welfare not production: The livestock reservoir for antimicrobial resistance: a personal view on changing patterns of risk, effects of interventions and the way forward.

An editorial in the scientific journal Nature describes what the serious consequences will be if farmers around the world do not cut down on antimicrobial consumption – and explains how the Danish experience can inspire: Pig out.

The Danish approach to combating antimicrobial resistance in food production was on the agenda at a Congressional Briefing in the United States Congress in May 2014. An hour-long video recording or the briefing is available on YouTube (video).

A report from the American Government Accountability Office talks about the lessons the American authorities and poultry producers can learn from Danish regulation in the area of antimicrobials as well as the importance of having a good surveillance system: Antibiotic resistance – agencies have made limited progress addressing antibiotic use in animals.

An editorial in The New York Times tells of the Danish experience in using as few antimicrobials as possible but enough to treat sick animals: Denmark’s Drug-Free Pigs.

An article in Huffington Post takes a closer look at the Danish ban on the use of antimicrobial growth promoters: Can We Wean Our Future Food Off Antibiotics?


Frank Møller Aarestrup
Professor, Head of Research Group
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 62 81