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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Aquaculture International Programs

International Capacity Building Project: Training Module on Aquaculture Drug Use

The United States imports approximately 80% of its seafood. Each year CVM, CFSAN, and ORA receive inquiries from entities and producers from other countries asking about FDA’s position on drug use in aquaculture. This project will create an interactive, web-based educational module that FDA can use in international outreach. CVM is providing content for the module, CFSAN and ORA will be consulted in development of the content and will assist in field testing, and JIFSAN will transform the content into a web-based module and provide translation.

FAO Expert Workshop on Improving Biosecurity through Prudent and Responsible Use of Veterinary Medicine (Antimicrobials) in Aquatic Food Production

CVM, together with CFSAN, participated in the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Expert Workshop on Improving Biosecurity through Prudent and Responsible Use of Veterinary Medicine (Antimicrobials) in Aquatic Food Production in December 2009. The multinational workshop included discussion on the current use of veterinary medicines in aquaculture and alternatives to antimicrobial use. The group assembled a draft outline of technical guidelines on the prudent use of veterinary medicine in support of FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF). A publication from this meeting including a manuscript of a presentation from CVM is expected.

OIE Ad Hoc Group on Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Aquatic Animals

The OIE convened an ad hoc group to develop standards to address the emergence or spread of resistant bacteria from the use of antimicrobial agents in aquatic animals. The group was tasked with drafting chapters for Section 6 of the Aquatic Animal Health Code (Veterinary Public Health) and reports to the Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission.

CVM Aquaculture Methods Development Used Internationally

CVM’s OR has worked to internationally harmonize antimicrobial susceptibility testing (through the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute) and veterinary drug residue analytical methods for testing seafood for illegal drug residues in foreign products within the FDA Aquaculture Research Group. CVM has developed the following methods that have been used to harmonize antimicrobial susceptibility testing internationally: Methods for Antimicrobial Disk Susceptibility Testing of Bacteria Isolated from Aquatic Animals and Methods for Broth Dilution Susceptibility Testing of Bacteria Isolated from Aquatic Animals.

Aquaculture Risk Information System (AQRIS) and Aquaculture Risk Ranking Tool (AQRRT)

Under the leadership of CVM’s Product Advisory Group a consulting firm was contracted to design a database and to research literature and other aquaculture trade resources to obtain current data relevant to the volume of aquaculture product imports by species, and to document the drugs being used in the production of food fish in foreign countries.

The AQRIS provides capabilities to manage the collection, validation, storage, maintenance, analysis and dissemination of information associated with drugs used in aquaculture products of foreign origin to be used for human consumption. This information addresses the countries that export aquaculture products to the United States, the species exported and the types of drugs these countries use in the course of their aquaculture operations. AQRIS data can be used to prioritize the monitoring of drugs and chemical residues in the edible tissue of imported aquaculture products, prioritize the development of methods to be used in the monitoring program, and provide a basis for promoting discussion with foreign countries regarding the hazard concerns associated with drug residues in their aquaculture exports to the United States.

Dozens of drugs are being used in aquaculture worldwide, yet most are not allowed in aquaculture products raised in or imported to the United States. Globally, aquaculture is an increasingly large fraction of total fish production, and fish consumption in general is increasing. Furthermore, aquaculture products consumed in the United States are primarily from imports (more than 90 percent according to the USDA), and the vast majority of these imports are from developing countries that may have little control of drugs used in production. The AQRIS database contains information for more than 120 drugs/chemicals, 42 foreign countries, and 15 different species. For reference, the United States has been added to the database along with regulated drug information for approved aquaculture drugs in order to provide a benchmark for other drugs and countries.

The AQRRT helps to answer key questions regarding which countries, food fish species, and/or aquaculture drugs used in foreign aquaculture may pose the highest health risks. This tool helps CVM address the adequacy or need for specific monitoring plans, new or improved analytical methods, trade negotiations, etc.