LEVELS OF DRUG-RESISTANT SALMONELLA IN POULTRY FALL: The levels of multidrug resistant strains of salmonella in raw chicken and turkey products that consumers purchase at the grocery store have declined since 2011, the FDA said Thursday in a report based on samples taken from January 2014 to June 2015. Twenty percent of the chicken the agency tested contained salmonella resistant to more than one antibiotic, compared to 45 percent in 2011, while the rate of antibiotic resistant bacteria in turkey has fallen from 50 percent to 36 percent during the same time frame. Overall, prevalence of salmonella in retail poultry is at its lowest level since testing began in 2002.
The news arrives amid ongoing efforts by the Obama administration to cut antibiotic use in both animal and hospital settings to combat rising rates of drug-resistant bacteria. The National Chicken Council said the report provides a “strong case” that the industry is contributing to those goals by using antibiotics judiciously and implementing strategies to reduce salmonella in poultry (USDA has outlined stricter salmonella standards for the industry that take effect in May). Most chicken producers are ahead of a December deadline set by FDA to phase out medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in farm animals, said Ashley Peterson, the group’s senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. She added that analyzing resistance patterns, rather than antibiotic sales, is more meaningful to public health outcomes.
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