The group had invited the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to provide an update on progress being made on the Commission’s 5 year action plan on AMR, including the amendments to the Veterinary Medicine Regulations and other relevant issues relating to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in foods.
It was reported that data is collected on sales and usage of antibiotics in cattle, pigs and poultry, and there is scanning and structured surveillance for resistance. The structured surveillance focusses on the pathogens of importance to human health. EU legislation, (2013/652) requires surveillance which alternates between poultry and pigs each year (poultry in 2014, pigs in 2015).
It was confirmed that a cross-government forum (with representation from Department of Health, Public Health England, Animal and Plant Health Agency, FSA and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Northern Ireland) has been established to consider MRSA surveillance. Members noted that a joint PHE and VMD study is to be carried out to assess the number of people in contact with livestock who are colonised. Results of study would be published in the autumn of 2016. In the meantime the above forum is developing guidance for people in contact with livestock on how to reduce the risk of zoonosis, which will go on Gov.UK and other relevant websites.
The main strands of the VMD’s Research and Development strategy were outlined and members were updated on some research projects that are currently underway which have relevance for food. The group was also updated on the activities of the EU Working Group on AMR.
Members commented on the planned joint PHE and VMD MRSA study.