Technical specifications on the harmonised monitoring and reporting of antimicrobial resistance in <em>Salmonella</em>, <em>Campylobacter</em> and indicator <em>Escherichia coli</em> and <em>Enterococcus</em> spp. bacteria transmitted through food
Proposals to improve the harmonisation of monitoring and reporting of antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella, Campylobacter coli and jejuni, indicator Escherichia coli and Enterococcus from food producing animals and derived meat by the European Union Member States are presented. In establishing a list of combinations of bacterial species, food-producing animal populations and food products and in setting up priorities for the monitoring of antimicrobial resistance from a public health perspective, the potential exposure of the consumers has been considered as the first variable to be taken into account. As the prevalence of Salmonella is decreasing, monitoring of antimicrobial resistance should be enforced in indicator bacteria. The concept of a threshold is introduced for some animal populations and their derived meat (whose consumption is limited to certain Member States) to determine whether monitoring of antimicrobial resistance should be mandatory. Currently used phenotypic monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in bacterial isolates is to be retained but recommendations are given for broadening the harmonised panel of antimicrobials used for Salmonella, E. coli and Enterococcus spp. with the inclusion of substances that are either important for human health or that can provide clearer insight into the resistance mechanisms involved. The use of microdilution methods for testing is confirmed as the preferred option and this should be accompanied by the application of epidemiological cut off values for the interpretation of microbiological resistance. A two-step testing strategy has been devised to further characterise those isolates of E.coli and Salmonella spp. showing resistance to extended spectrum cephalosporins and carbapenems. Several analytical methods are suggested for monitoring of ESBL/AmpC-producing E.coli. Finally, full support is given to the collection and reporting of data at isolate level, in order to enable more in-depth analyses to be conducted, in particular on the occurrence of multi-resistance.