May 25, 2012
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine announced today the availability of an updated National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Strategic Plan, a dynamic roadmap which outlines the program’s commitment to sustained food safety through monitoring and research. The draft Strategic Plan was originally issued in January, 2011. Today’s Plan has been updated based on input from many sources including that received in a previous request for comments, from a series of public and internal meetings, and from conversations with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The NARMS program is a national public health surveillance system that tracks antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria in partnership with CDC and USDA and is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services overall strategy to address antimicrobial resistance and protect the health of Americans through safer food.
To address the problem of antimicrobial resistance, 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. The information collected will help target interventions to minimize resistance development.
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.
Today’s announcement is the culmination of these recommendations. The Strategic Plan lists NARMS’ accomplishments since its 1996 inception, strategic goals and objectives and challenges and opportunities.
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