Effect of Antimicrobial Use in Agricultural Animals on Drug-resistant Foodborne Campylobacteriosis in Humans: A Systematic Literature Review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Oct 2;56(13):2115-32. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1119798.


Controversy continues concerning antimicrobial use in food animals and its relationship to drug-resistant infections in humans. We systematically reviewed published literature for evidence of a relationship between antimicrobial use in agricultural animals and drug-resistant foodborne campylobacteriosis in humans. Based on publications from the United States (U.S.), Canada and Denmark from 2010 to July 2014, 195 articles were retained for abstract review, 50 met study criteria for full article review with 36 retained for which data are presented. Two publications reported increase in macrolide resistance of Campylobacter coli isolated from feces of swine receiving macrolides in feed, and one of these described similar findings for tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones. A study in growing turkeys demonstrated increased macrolide resistance associated with therapeutic dosing with Tylan® in drinking water. One publication linked tetracycline-resistant C. jejuni clone SA in raw cow's milk to a foodborne outbreak in humans. No studies that identified farm antimicrobial use also traced antimicrobial-resistant Campylobacter from farm to fork. Recent literature confirms that on farm antibiotic selection pressure can increase colonization of animals with drug-resistant Campylobacter spp. but is inadequately detailed to establish a causal relationship between use of antimicrobials in agricultural animals and prevalence of drug-resistant foodborne campylobacteriosis in humans.

Keywords: Food safety; farm-to-fork; macrolides; meat; quinolones; tetracycline.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects*
  • Campylobacter / drug effects
  • Campylobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Canada
  • Cattle
  • Denmark
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Macrolides / administration & dosage
  • Meat / microbiology
  • Milk / microbiology
  • Swine / microbiology
  • Turkeys / microbiology
  • United States
  • Veterinary Drugs / administration & dosage
  • Veterinary Drugs / adverse effects*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Macrolides
  • Veterinary Drugs