A day before its 2014 Scientific Meeting at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) released its latest Executive Report, detailing the trends in antimicrobial resistance. NARMS is a partnership between FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Agriculture to track antibiotic resistance in foodborne Salmonella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus and E. coli bacteria. According to the 2011 data, 85 percent of non-typhoidal Salmonella collected from humans had no resistance to any of the antibiotics tested. Multi-drug resistance in Salmonella from humans, slaughtered chickens and slaughtered swine was the lowest since NARMS testing began. However, multi-drug resistance in Salmonella from retail poultry meats generally increased, with slight fluctuations. During its 16-year history, NARMS has found Salmonella resistance to ciprofloxacin, one of the most common antibiotics to treat Salmonella infections in humans, to be very low (less than 0.5 percent in humans, less than 3 percent in retail meat, and less than 1 percent in animals at slaughter). Resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, another important drug class for treating Salmonella infections, rose among isolates from retail ground turkey between 2008 and 2011 and among certain Salmonella serotypes in cattle between 2009 and 2011. And Salmonella Heidelberg prevalence among all retail meat increased from about 10 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in 2011, but remained below the 2002-2010 average of 19.8 percent. More than 90 percent of Campylobacter come from retail chicken each year, and Campylobacter jejuni is more prevalent than Campylobacter coli. C. coli also tends to be more resistant than C. jejuni, regardless of source. In C. jejuni, erythromycin (the drug of choice for treating Campylobacter infections) resistance has remained at less than 4 percent in isolates obtained from humans, retail chicken and slaughtered chicken since testing began. Ciprofloxacin resistance in C. coli from retail chicken rose from to its highest peak of 29 percent in 2005, but, since FDA withdrew approval for the use of the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics in poultry production, resistance decreased to 18 percent. However, this is not the case for C. jejuni, in which resistance to ciprofloxacin rose from 15 to 22 percent from 2002 through 2011. Of the ground turkey, ground beef and pork chop samples that tested positive for E. coli, tetracycline was the most common source of resistance — 80 percent of ground turkey, 18 percent of ground beef and 47 percent of pork chops. In chicken, the 41 percent resistant to tetracycline was surpassed by 44 percent sulfisoxazole and 43 percent streptomycin. Another highlight of the data is that 52 percent of ground turkey samples were resistant to ampicillin, up from 31 percent in 2002. And, since 2005, nalidixic acid resistance in E. coli has decreased in chicken from 7 to 2 percent and in ground turkey from 10 to 2 percent. “While some encouraging trends were observed, these findings underscore the need for continued efforts to curb antimicrobial resistance,” FDA said. “Monitoring antimicrobial resistance through NARMS is an important component of the overall effort to minimize antimicrobial resistance and promote appropriate and judicious use of antimicrobial drugs in both humans and animals.”