Prof Alan Johnson, from Public Health England, said: “Our assessment is that the public health risk posed by this gene is currently considered very low, but is subject to ongoing review as more information becomes available.
“The organisms identified can be killed by cooking your food properly and all the bacteria we identified with this gene were responsive to other #antibiotics, called carbapenems.
Coilin Nunan, from the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, said: “We need the government, the European Commission and regulatory bodies like the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to respond urgently.
A spokesperson said: “We are enhancing our surveillance for colistin resistance, and veterinary prescribers have voluntarily updated prescribing guidelines to restrict use of colistin in animals.”
It raises the prospect of untreatable infections – what is known as the antibiotic apocalypse and threatens to plunge medicine back into the dark ages.