December 6, 2016


Report: Antibiotic resistance levels in US meat declining



Salmonella and campylobacter prevalence in retail chicken meat samples taken in the US continue to decline, and both are at their lowest levels of 9.1% and 33%, respectively, since 2002, a Food and Drug Administration report showed.


The 2014 Integrated National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Report, which the FDA released late last month, catalogued antimicrobial resistance in enteric bacteria isolated from raw retail meat and poultry during calendar year 2014. 


The NARMS programme collects and isolates samples from humans, food-producing animals, and retail meat, and tests them for antibiotic resistance. The 2014 report focuses on salmonella, campylobacter, escherichia coli (E. coli) and enterococcus.


The study found that bacterial strains that are resistant to all or at least eight of the nine antimicrobial classes tested in NARMS were "extremely drug resistant".  In 2014, no retail chicken isolates of either salmonella or E. coli were found to be extremely drug-resistant.


Other important and positive trends in the data through 2014 include:


-- Salmonella and campylobacter prevalence in retail chicken meat samples continue to decline, and both are at their lowest levels (9.1% and 33%, respectively) since NARMS testing began in 2002.


-- Most (82%) of human salmonella isolates tested were not resistant to any of the tested antibiotics.


-- Ceftriaxone, an extended-spectrum cephalosporin critical to treating severe salmonella infections, continues to be effective, and resistance to the antibiotic has decreased in non-typhoidal salmonella and E. coli.


-- Human salmonella isolates resistant to at least ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides and tetracyclines (ACSSuT) are at the lowest level (3.1%) since 2002.


Judicious use of antibiotics


Dr. Ashley Peterson, National Chicken Council senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, said NCC was glad to see many positive trends in the data continue, with both salmonella and campylobacter prevalence at their lowest levels since NARMS testing began, and critical antibiotics remaining effective in treating illnesses.


"Reports like this provide a strong case that the continued judicious use of antibiotics by poultry producers, coupled with ongoing strategies to reduce salmonella and campylobacter, is aiding in the reduction of the pathogen and the reduction in resistance", Peterson stated. 


The FDA has developed guidance for the livestock and poultry industries to limit the use of medically important antibiotics to preventive and therapeutic use by Jan. 1, 2017.  Peterson said that most chicken producers were well ahead of the December deadline to phase out medically important antibiotics for growth purposes.


"One thing consumers should remember is that all pathogens potentially found on raw chicken, regardless of strain or resistance profile, are fully destroyed by handling the product properly and cooking it to an internal temperature of 165°F," Peterson reminded consumers.


For the full report, you may click this link.

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