Antimicrobial Resistance Working Group meeting 20 March 2014

Last updated:
3 February 2015
Summary of the 4th meeting of the group

Presentation from VMD on AMR policy and current developments

The group was briefed on the Government’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) policy in relation to animal health by a member of Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s (VMD) AMR Team. The presentation covered an update on UK AMR policy and the EU Commission AMR action plan published in 2011 which set out 12 actions the EU would be concentrating on, 5 of which were veterinary related. These were to:

• strengthen the regulatory framework on the use of veterinary medicines;
• recommend the introduction of prudent use (non-mandatory) guidance, expected to be published in approximately 6 months’ time;
• introduce a new Animal Health Law;
• request more advice on the impact of new antibiotics on animal and human health;
• strengthen surveillance systems including the new harmonized monitoring Decision.

Members were updated on recent changes to EU legislation and on the goals of the Government AMR Strategy 2013-2018 which was launched in September 2013.

Members noted that as expanding surveillance data was one of the areas for action, it was important that there were clear objectives in carrying out surveillance so that it achieved whatever it was supposed to achieve, for example identifying new and emerging problems, monitoring the impact of interventions or analysing specific issues.

EFSA Opinion on Carbapenemase resistance

The group considered EFSA’s opinion on Carbapenemase resistance. It was reported that carbapenemases were regarded as a potentially emerging problem following reports of carbapenem-resistant bacteria in food-producing animals in some European countries. There is no licence for using carbapenems for animals. The aim was to avoid the situation that had developed with 3rd generation cephalosporin resistance which started to appear at very low levels and then rapidly increased. Following discussion the group identified points they agreed to draw to the full Committee’s attention.

Commission implementing decision on the monitoring and reporting of antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and commensal bacteria

The group was asked for their views on the Commission implementing decision on the monitoring and reporting of antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and commensal bacteria.

The Decision describes in detail the rules for the harmonised monitoring and reporting of antimicrobial resistance to be carried out by Member States in accordance with article 7 (3) and 9 (1) of Directive 2003/99/EC concerning the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents.

Members commented on the panel of antimicrobial substances listed to be used for testing Salmonella spp. and indicator commensal E.coli isolates showing resistance to third generation cephalosporins or meropenem and on the sample size as stipulated in the Decision. Member States are asked to test 170 isolates for antimicrobials susceptibility testing for each combination of bacterial species and type of sample of animal population or food category listed.

Risk from imported food and feed

The group considered a paper that highlighted the potential gaps in the feed chain through imports of feed from third countries. It was noted that imported food will be considered at a future meeting.

Following discussion it was observed that although the paper outlined the legal and enforcement controls in place in relation to imports of feed from third countries and the potential gaps, it contained insufficient information regarding AMR. The relevant sections that detailed the current situation regarding medicated feed and steps to address gaps were drawn to members’ attention.

Feedback from AntiMicrobial Expert Group meeting

Members received a presentation on the activities of the ad hoc AntiMicrobial Expert Group (AMEG) set up by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to debate certain issues relating to the veterinary use of antimicrobials and AMR.

It was reported that AMEG was established to address the request for advice from the European Commission (EC) on the impact on public health and animal health from the use of antibiotics in animals, which EMA received in February 2013. The EC have posed 4 questions for AMEG to address.

The group commented on the work being undertaken by AMEG. The group will be receiving updates on AMEG as one of its members is a member of AMEG.

Review of DARC opinion on feeding waste milk to calves

The group were briefed on the issue of feeding of waste milk to calves. It was noted that this matter originated from a letter published in the Vet Record that suggested that feeding milk containing Veterinary Medicinal Products residues to calves contravened EU rules on animal by-products (ABPs).
Following discussion members requested to see recent studies carried out on this issue and agreed that the group should keep a watching brief on this area.