Surveillance of antimicrobial resistance

Infections originating from foodborne bacteria are becoming more challenging to treat due to increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance.

Multidrug resistance is a genuine concern within the animal & food industry as research suggests these resistant bacteria may make their way into human populations through food, causing serious infections that are becoming harder and harder to treat. In Europe, resistance to fluoroquinolones is increasing in Campylobacter and Salmonella species rendering these antimicrobials ineffective in treating cases of campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis1.

One Health is a global initiative to design and implement programmes, policies, legislation and research in multiple sectors, such as human health, animal health and environment, to achieve better public health outcomes with a collaborative approach2. The goal is to recognise the interconnection between people, animals, plants and their shared environment and work together in order to reduce zoonotic  diseases, antimicrobial resistance, environmental contamination and to ensure food safety3.

One key area One Health promotes is the initiative to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among humans, animals and food. According to WHO there will be 1.2 trillion USD additional health expenditure per year expected by 2050 due to the rise of antimicrobial resistance2. Read more on One Health approach here .

On a global level there are various legislations and recommendations that guide the use of antimicrobials and how to measure the level of antimicrobial resistance within different sectors and geographies. Various surveillance programs have been set up across the globe to monitor trends in AMR levels – much of the focus is shared between geographies but there are also regional differences depending on the prevalence of antimicrobial use and AMR trends.

Why are surveillance programs so important? 4,5

Measuring antimicrobial resistance

Measuring antimicrobial resistance in bacteria isolated from people, foods and food animals is central to understanding the development and spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

Antimicrobial use

Antimicrobial use in humans, animals and the environment can lead to the development of antimicrobial resistant bacteria that cause untreatable infections.


Surveillance programs collect data to monitor the progress, and measure the impact of actions taken to control AMR.

Future strategies

Collected data provides insights to developing appropriate futurestrategies and actions to manage AMR.

In Europe, the European Commission (EC) is committed to combatting AMR by implementing legislation on harmonised monitoring of AMR in zoonotic and commensal  bacteria in food-producing animals and derived meat4. Thermo Fisher Scientific recently collaborated with an extended network of European Reference Laboratories to finalize an update to existing Thermo Scientific™ Sensititre™ Plate formats designed to support EU surveillance efforts, as well as to demonstrate and educate users that the design and manufacturing processes met the latest guidelines by EU Mandate 2013/652/EU and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)4.

The Sensititre System provides a standardized AMR surveillance tool, which delivers gold standard-level6 minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) data, in order to support public health and national reference laboratories by enabling their compliance with government surveillance mandates. Gaining accurate, quantitative data on emerging resistance patterns observed in bacterial isolates from animal and food industry surveillance efforts will continue to support evolving One Health initiatives.


  1. EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), 2020. The European Union Summary Report on Antimicrobial Resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in 2017/2018. EFSA Journal 2020;18 (3):6007, 166 pp. 
  2. World Health Organization (2017). One Health, 21 September 2017, 
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). One Health Basics, 5 November 2018, 
  4. EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), Aerts M, Battisti A, Hendriksen R, Kempf I, Teale C, Tenhagen B-A, Veldman K, Wasyl D, Guerra B, Li_ebana E, Thomas-L_opez D and Beloeil P-A, 2019. Scientific report on the technical specifications on harmonised monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from food-producing animals and food. EFSA Journal 2019;17(6):5709, 122 pp. 
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). About NARMS, 15 March 2019, 
  6. Gram negative anaerobe susceptibility testing in clinical isolates using Sensititre and Etest methods.C. Hughes, C. Ashhurst-Smith, J.K. Ferguson. Pathology Volume 50, Issue 4, June 2018.

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