Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Germs
CDC reports progress and problems in foodborne germs it tracks
Antibiotic resistance—when bacteria don’t respond to the drugs designed to kill them—threatens to return us to the time when simple infections were often fatal. Antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs showed both positive and troubling trends, according to data tracked by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistant Monitoring System (NARMS). CDC is the only source of national information on antibiotic resistance in people from foodborne pathogens.
Why is this information important?
What’s in the report and on the web?
CDC is currently tracking two active outbreaks related to foodborne infections:
- Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Organic Sprouted Chia Powder –Salmonella Newport, Salmonella Hartford, and Salmonella Oranienburg
- Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Foster Farms Brand Chicken (See timeline of events in following image.)
Battling Antibiotic Resistance Together
Who's doing what
The fight against antibiotic resistance is huge...and, determined. Here's a snapshot of a few soldiers on the frontline and some of their battleplans.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researches, monitors, and reports antibiotic resistance threats in the United States.
- Read CDC's 2013 Threats Report that connects antibiotic resistance to foodborne and
other enteric (intestinal) germs in animals, food, and humans.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates antibiotics use in humans or animals, educates industry on medically-important antibiotics in food animals, and works to bring the therapeutic uses of such drugs under the oversight of licensed veterinarians.
- See FDA's animation of antimicrobial resistance.
- Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (ITFAR) coordinates the activities of multiple federal agencies in addressing antibiotic resistance.
- Read ITFAR's public health action plan to combat antibiotic resistance.
- National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria (NARMS), a tri-agency group, tests bacteria and tracks antibiotic resistance in humans (CDC), retail meats (Food and Drug Administration), and food animals (U.S. Department of Agriculture).
- Read the 2012 NARMS Annual Report.
- Pew Charitable Trusts works to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by phasing out the overuse and misuse of the drugs in food animal production.
- Get Pew's 10 Facts About Antibiotics, Resistance, and Food Animal Production.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts and funds food safety research, including antibiotic resistance.
- Read USDA's Questions and Answers: Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Food-Producing Animals.
Bigger Issue Than Food
Antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs is part of a bigger problem
Called public health’s ticking time bomb, antibiotic resistance annually causes more than two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths nationwide. Of these, antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs cause about 440,000 illnesses. Tomorrow, if it continues on its current course, could be even worse.
The FY 2015 President’s Budget requests funding for CDC to improve early detection and tracking of multidrug resistant Salmonella and other urgent antibiotic resistance threats. The proposed initiative would increase CDC’s ability to test drug-resistant Salmonella by 20 times. With a $30 million annual funding level over five years, CDC estimates that it could achieve a 25 percent reduction in multidrug resistant Salmonella infections, as well as significant reductions in other resistant infections.
Click to see entire Pew infographic above: The Threat of Antibiotic Resistance.
- Multi-Locus Sequence Typing Confirms Wild birds as the Source of a CampylobacterOutbreak Associated with the Consumption of Raw Peas
- Improving Response to Foodborne Disease Outbreaks in the United States: Findings of the Foodborne Disease Centers for Outbreak Response Enhancement (FoodCORE), 2010-2012
- Outbreaks Attributed to Cheese: Differences Between Outbreaks Caused by Unpasteurized and Pasteurized Dairy Products, United States, 1998-2011
Good to Know
CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health has two new exciting food safety tools, and we need your help spreading the word.
- e-Learning on Environmental Assessment of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks- Free interactive online course
- Prepares individuals for team investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants
and other food service areas
- Continuing education units (CEUs)
- National Voluntary Environmental Assessment Information System
- Surveillance system for jurisdictions that inspect and regulate restaurants and other
food areas, such as banquet facilities, schools, and other institutions
- Captures underlying environmental assessment data that describes what happened and
how events most likely led to a foodborne illness outbreak
- Access the full 2012 NARMS report here, including links to interactive graphs.
- Find out more about CDC’s Role in NARMS.
- Read CDC’s FAQ About Antibiotic Resistance and Food Safety.
- Learn more about Antibiotic Use in Food-Producing Animals.
- Read the new report on Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013.
- Take the quiz: Get Smart About Antibiotics on the Farm.