The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine has announced the availability of an updated National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Strategic Plan outlining the program’s commitment to sustained food safety through monitoring and research. The draft Strategic Plan was originally issued in January, 2011.

The NARMS program is a national public health surveillance system that tracks antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USDA.

The FDA is working in collaboration with veterinarians, the animal drug industry, and animal producers on a strategy to protect public health and promote the judicious use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals. The agency will use data collected as part of the NARMS program to identify and track resistance patterns as well as data on the levels of resistance in animals, humans, and retail meat.

In March 2007, an External Subcommittee of the Science Board to the FDA conducted a review of the NARMS program. This subcommittee made recommendations related to four areas of work performed by NARMS: 1) sampling, 2) research, 3) international activities, and 4) data management and reporting. Included in the report was a recommendation to develop long-range strategic plans.

NARMS has established four strategic goals. These goals build on progress made since NARMS’ inception, with special emphasis on the recommendations made by the FDA Science Board subcommittee review in 2007.

Goal 1: Develop a sampling strategy that is more representative of food animal production and consumption and more applicable to trend analysis
Goal 2: Optimize data acquisition, analysis, and reporting
Goal 3: Strengthen collaborative research projects
Goal 4: Collaborate with international institutions that promote food safety, especially those focused on mitigating the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria

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Source: FDA