FDA Seeks Public Comment On NARMS Strategic Plan

Public comment is available on the Center for Veterinary Medicine’s NARMS program.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is soliciting public comment on its “National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring (NARMS) Strategic Plan.”

The agency made the document available today. Comments will be accepted until March 25.

The document, described by the FDA as a “dynamic roadmap,” outlines the program’s strategic goals and objectives for 2011 through 2015 on the issue of sustained food safety through monitoring and research.

Specifically, the goals are:

• To develop, implement and optimize a shared database, with advanced data acquisition, analysis and reporting tools;
• To make sampling more representative and more applicable to trend analysis;
• To strengthen collaborative research projects; and
• To support international activities that promote food safety, especially those that promote mitigation of the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and resistance determinants.

The FDA noted that these goals build on progress made since NARMS’ inception in 1996. The program—established as a partnership between the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture—is a national public health surveillance system that tracks antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria. NARMS monitors antimicrobial susceptibility among enteric bacteria from food animals, retail meats and humans. The major bacteria currently under surveillance, according to the FDA, are Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus.

The goals also have special emphasis on recommendations made by an FDA Science Board subcommittee review in 2007. The subcommittee made recommendations related to four areas of work performed by NARMS: sampling, research, international activities and data management and reporting.

The NARMS Strategic Plan release is a culmination of these recommendations, according to the FDA.

The FDA is now soliciting public comment on the goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan and whether the goals and objectives meet the recommendations of the subcommittee.

Comments for Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0620 can be submitted electronically March 25.

The full Strategic Plan can be found by clicking here.

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