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FDA releases plans for monitoring food safety, antimicrobial resistance

Initiatives focus on public health plus safety and effectiveness of animal feed and drugs.
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May 31, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced its final strategic plan for the Foods and Veterinary Medicine Program (FVM) and an updated plan for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). The FVM plan combines the efforts of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Center for Veterinary Medicine, and the Office of Regulatory Affairs and was developed to identify key goals and objectives to advance food safety, nutrition and animal health. The NARMS plan details the organization’s commitment to food safety through monitoring and research, with a focus on antimicrobial resistance.

The FVM plan comes in response to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, which was signed into law last year and, according to the FDA, is the first major overhaul of food safety regulation in more than 70 years. The act tasks the FDA with developing a new and modernized food safety system that focuses on protecting public health and safeguarding the U.S. food supply.

One of the guiding principles of the FVM strategic plan is regulating the safety and effectiveness of animal drugs and feed, a critical piece that affects both the health of animals and the safety of the nation’s food supply. With this key element in mind, the program intends to focus on providing timely pre-market review of new animal drugs, ensuring that approved drugs are being used appropriately and putting measures in place to minimize the illegal sale of unapproved drugs.

NARMS is a collaboration among the FDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state and local health departments. Its goal is to monitor antimicrobial susceptibility in enteric bacteria from humans, food-producing animals and retail meats. The FDA uses data collected from the NARMS program—in addition to input from veterinarians, the animal drug industry and animal producers—to develop strategies to protect public health and promote judicious use of medically important antibiotics.

One of the major priorities for NARMS is the development of an improved sampling strategy that better represents food animal production, distribution and consumption. In order to accomplish this goal, NARMS intends to improve retail meat testing, modify animal slaughter sampling and conduct pilot studies to collect animal drug use and resistance data prior to slaughter.

More information on these strategic plans can be found at www.fda.gov.