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Antimicrobial Resistance

The intensive and extensive use of antimicrobial agents to treat infectious diseases has resulted in the emergence of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens. Antimicrobial resistance has become a food safety issue because of the possibility of antimicrobial-resistant organisms that can be transferred through food.

Antimicrobials are used in agriculture, although the amount in the United States is still unclear. Two recent studies have provided rough estimates. The extent to which the use of antimicrobial agents in agriculture contributes to the emergence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens, particularly those that cause infections in humans, is unknown. Additional data are needed.

NIFA has funded numerous projects on antimicrobial resistance in an attempt to add to the understanding of antimicrobial resistance. These projects were funded through National Research Initiative's (NRI) 32.0, Ensuring Food Safety, and 32.1, Epidemiologic Approaches for Food Safety, and the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (Section 406 of AREERA, the Agricultural, Research, Extension and Education Reform Act).

NIFA has participated in other activities related to antimicrobial resistance. These include supporting and participating in the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) research colloquium on the “The Role of Antibiotics in Agriculture” in 2002. The proceedings are available on the Web. There have been numerous scientific sessions at the last two annual meetings at the AVMA ( American Veterinary Medical Association) and at ASM. NIFA is also a liaison to the AVMA Judicious Use Steering Committee on Antimicrobials.


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